Can police judgment be trusted? Are they capable of making good decisions? We know they get away with murder, literally many times. Generally this is the result of an active pursuit when their lives or the lives of others are on the line. They train arduously for these situations and have to make snap decisions. Sometimes innocents get hurt.
Just a year ago, in trying to apprehend a murder suspect, New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said nine innocent bystanders were wounded in the Empire State Building shooting had been hit with police gunfire. It was a dangerous situation and stuff happens.
But since when does sitting in your seat watching a movie justify police coming over and killing you?
Sound outrageous? Ask the family of Ethan Saylor, of Frederick's County, Maryland. He was a victim of Down's Syndrome. But that's not what killed him. It was three off-duty policemen. The unarmed, handicapped man had gone to see a movie with his caretaker. While the aide was going to get the car after the film, Ethan wandered back into the theater and sat down, to watch the movie again.
What happened next is horrific. According to WUSA, Channel 9
Twenty-six-year-old Saylor and his aide went to the movies in January to see Zero Dark Thirty. They bought two tickets. When it was over, the aide left to get the car, Ethan went back inside because he wanted to see the film again. He did not have a ticket for the second showing. That's when three off-duty Frederick's County Sherriff's deputies removed him.
As we now know, he died after a hand-cuffed struggle and fall.
What made these three OFF DUTY sheriffs take it upon themselves to harass and ultimately kill this obviously handicapped man? They used the same kind of judgment that is being rightfully vilified as the reason NYC's 'stop and frisk' laws are being struck down or put on hold. It's profiling. And it's wrong. If Ethan Saylor wasn't a down-syndrome man would these cops have harassed him?
Here's how wrong it is -- an innocent man is dead. And his killers? Off Scott-free. And as it turns out,
Now, we are finding out, he may not have even needed a ticket at all. Maryland Delegate and Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Heather Mizeur is fighting for justice for Ethan, "It turns out that under the ADA laws, a caretaker doesn't need to have a ticket with someone with a disability at a movie theater anyway, so the two tickets that were purchased for Ethan and his caretaker would have been sufficient for him to stay a second time."
I'm not against the police. I'm against their occasional brutality and abuse of power. I've been a victim of it, so I know what I'm talking about. I also know that most of the abuse doesn't get reported for fear of retribution. So anytime I hear of the police being given even more discretion in how they behave, and the lack of criminal oversight, I'm concerned.
I hope you are too.
Ethan Saylor's family needs help -- not money. They want justice for their late family member. And you can do something about it. They're circulating a petition just asking for a full investigation. Unarmed man. No threat to others. Harassed because he's handicapped. No punishment for the three officers. What's wrong with this picture.
If you're incensed the way I am, join me and sign Ethan's Petition.
I want us to support our police. In general they do a great job. Let's not condemn all for the evils of the few. But doing nothing invites you to be next.