That's the cost of a movie ticket, likely the very same amount paid by Robert Saylor and his aide when they attended a January 12th showing of the movie, Zero Dark Thirty in Frederick, MD.
Frederick, MD, not some back-woods community full of ignorance and mis-information, but, for all intents and purposes, a DC suburb, barely 30 minutes from the Northern Virginia county in which I live.
twelve dollars twelve dollars twelve dollars twelve dollars twelvedollarstwelvedollarstwelvedollars...
Was it really worth it?
Some movie theater lackey, short on pay and long on boredom and the need for a little drama to spice up the day, called mall security to remove Robert Saylor from the theater as he refused to leave his seat, while his aide went to get the car.
They couldn't even wait for her to return, to see if she could motivate him.
They couldn't just let it go.
For the cost of a $12.00 seat.
A young man with an obvious intellectual disability goes to the movies, enjoys the film so much he wants to watch it again, refuses to leave his seat. Mall security, three off-hours Frederick police officers moonlighting for a few extra bucks, are called, and come to the scene. Not liking Mr. Saylor's attitude, they attempt to restrain him, cuffing him with 3 sets of cuffs (necessary due to his size) and turning him over with his face to the floor, asphyxiating him and causing his heart to stop. He regained consciousness briefly before passing away in a moment of terror and confusion, away from anyone he loved, at the hands of the law-enforcement he idolized.
I honestly thought this was a case that would take months, if not years, to resolve, and the conclusion that came forward a few days ago, barely 2 months from the death of this young man, was staggering.
Oh, so he had a heart problem! And other health issues related to Down syndrome. That justifies it. Makes it okay. Makes it a logical outcome of the events that transpired that fateful night. They said he was susceptible to sudden death.
You know what? More than 50% of people with Down syndrome have heart defects. Many with Down syndrome have obesity. Other conditions. Susceptible to sudden death? Certainly more likely if placed under the brutal and unnecessary conditions Robert Saylor was subjected to in January.
The guilt is two-fold.
The police officers who strong-armed a man without waiting for the return of his aide, for refusing to leave his seat in the theater after the end of that showing are guilty of exerting unnecessary force on a man with a disability.
The theater lackey who reported Mr. Saylor to security because he refused to leave his $12 seat and wanted to stay through the next showing is guilty of making a very small situation into something catastrophic. For what? For twelve dollars??? In a theater full of empty seats, they just had to have that one vacated? I sat through plenty of additional movie showings when I was a kid. Nobody cared. The lawyer for the Saylor family stated, “One of the options (the police) had was to simply tell the theater manager, 'We’re just simply not going to deal with this.’ They should have and could have just walked away.”
And the theater manager should have and could have let. it. go.
It could have been my kid. The one whose enhanced genetic make-up gives her license to be just as stubborn, who can make the refusal to put her shoes on to go out somewhere into a precursor to war.
This could have been your kid.
Please sign this petition requesting additional investigation into his death, requesting that this kind of thing not be allowed to happen again.
Robert Saylor's life mattered.