Attorneys for three sheriff’s deputies in Frederick County, Maryland are preparing to blame medical care providers and pre-existing conditions for the death by asphyxiation of a 26-year-old man with Down’s Syndrome during an encounter two years ago, the Frederick News-Post reported.
Robert Ethan Saylor died after the deputies removed him from a movie theater on Jan. 26, 2013. The deputies — James Harris, Scott Jewell, and Richard Rochford, who were all off-duty at the time — forced him out because he tried to stay for a second showing of Zero Dark Thirty without paying for a new ticket. Saylor’s aide had warned the deputies, who were working a side job as theater security, that he would resist if they tried to move him.
The deputies’ attorneys will reportedly argue that Saylor’s larynx was fractured not by them, but by medical personnel who tried to help him at a local hospital. Saylor’s family has blamed the deputies for the injury, which was identified in his autopsy.
The autopsy also stated that Saylor was obese, and also suffered from heart issues and a scarred lung. Attorneys Daniel Karp and Sandra Lee will call on Jeffrey Fillmore, the physician who treated him. Fillmore will reportedly testify that the report and other evidence is inconsistent with asphyxiation as the cause of death.
A federal judge ruled last October that the family’s wrongful-death lawsuit, which accused the deputies of gross negligence, could move forward. The family’s lawsuit against Regal Cinemas, the theater’s parent company, was dismissed.
According to the News-Post, the documents listing the attorneys’ intentions were briefly available online due to a filing error.
[h/t The Free Thought Project]