A young man was killed almost 3 months ago. His death was ruled a homicide. The perpetrators got off with a hand tap because the man had Down syndrome.
This is what we know.
A man was killed.
His death was ruled a homicide.
The perpetrators got off with a hand tap because the man had Down syndrome.
Now replace “Down syndrome” with any other word.
- The perpetrators got off with a hand tap because the man was black.
- The perpetrators got off with a hand tap because the man was Asian.
- The perpetrators got off with a hand tap because the man was obese.
- The perpetrators got off with a hand tap because the man had a bone marrow disease.
- The perpetrators got off with a hand tap because the man was Deaf.
- The perpetrators got off with a hand tap because the man used a prosthesis.
- The perpetrators got off with a hand tap because the man had testicular cancer.
- The perpetrators got off with a hand tap because the man had blonde hair.
is this becoming clear?
The man was killed. Robert Ethan Saylor was killed.
His death was ruled a homicide.
And rather than looking at the actions of the men who killed him, rather than taking a good hard look at what they did to force death upon Robert Ethan Saylor, they are holding up DOWN SYNDROME, this man’s extra chromosome, and saying that IT, and not THEY, are the culprit.
This is about human rights, people.
Ethan Saylor had the right to live.
We need to care about this. Ethan was one of our own; he was a member of the community with disability, he was a loved human being who deserved so, so much more.
Show that you care.
Show that you want justice for him.
Call for an independent investigation. Tell the Department of Justice that YOU ARE THE COMMUNITY and you WILL BE HEARD; demand justice.
Friday, April 12th marks 3 months since he was killed.
We will be striving to reach journalists, celebrities, media personalities and more through twitter – people who have loud, huge voices that can help us call out across the masses. We will be asking for justice for ethan: #justiceforethan.
HE WILL HAVE THE INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATION.
He will, so long as we all unite and demand that it happen.
What to do:
SIGN and share the change.org petition that was started by Ethan’s mother. HERE IT IS. There are a lot of petitions out there, please be sure this is the one that you have signed and shared
JOIN the #justiceforethan twitter campaign. Our plan is to get the attention of those who have louder voices that can reach across the masses and get action. We are going to have tweeting parties (tune in for details), but you do not have to wait for the party: get started tweeting and don’t stop! (see “Twitter Handles” and “Timely Tweets” below)
Twitter 101: for those of you that are new to twitter: your handy directory on terms and how-to utilize twitter
Twitter Handles: the direct handles on people that are likely to be sympathetic to this campaign, allies/champions
Timely Tweets: Have a hard time coming up with something to say? A collection of useful twitter-ready tweets has been crafted for your use by Melissa Stoltz! http://wp.me/P2ZfJC-23i
- “Join us in our push for #justiceforethan”
- “Love someone with Down syndrome? Join us in our push for #justiceforethan”
- “Disability rights are human rights. #justiceforethan”
- “Death ruled homicide, cops walk free. We need #justiceforethan”
- “Down syndrome isn’t a cause of death. #justiceforethan”
- “No one should die over a movie ticket. #justiceforethan”
Shortlink for neutral post by Melissa Stoltz on what happened: http://wp.me/P2ZfJC-23c – use this link for tweets, especially to media
The button: Share the button, put it on your blog/site, update your facebook status photo – get the word OUT!
Call the Department of Justice – (202) 307-5138
Tell them that you would like an independent investigation on the Robert “Ethan” Saylor case
change.org petition calling for an independent investigation: https://www.change.org/petitions/justice-for-robert-saylor
4/10 UPDATE: #justiceforethan
Twitter Rally: THURSDAY, April 11th, 9pm EST, 8pm CST, 7pm MST, 6pm PST. Have your Twitter Handle sheet ready along with your TweetSheet (if you need it). When the clock hits your respective timezone, log into Twitter. Start tweeting.
This is the thing: it doesn’t matter how many followers you have. It doesn’t matter at all. What matters is the sheer volume of tweets we can send to the people listed, and the number of times we can raise the hashtag #justiceforethan. If you have a lot of followers, that’s cool – the people who follow you may choose to join – but it’s not necessary, so don’t worry if it’s just you and your best friend. That’s fine.
- Twitter Handles
- Timely Tweets (“tweetsheet”)
- Twitter 101 (in case you need a refresher)
- and the shortlink for the neutral post on what happened (for media): http://wp.me/P2ZfJC-23c
Vigil: On the evening marking nearly 3 months since Ethan lost his life, join us in remembering his life and in marking in our hearts the injustice done to Ethan. Take a moment to light a candle, eat some pizza and listen to Bob Marley (something Ethan loved doing). Thursday, April 11th.
Meriah Nichols is a counselor. Solo mom to 3 (one with Down syndrome, one on the spectrum). Deaf, and neurodiverse herself, she’s a gardening nerd who loves cats, Star Trek, and takes her coffee hot and black.
I encourage not just calls for justice, but also acts of kindness and compassion as a response to this. I threw together a quick PDF to encourage random acts of kindness in Ethan’s memory. I plan to go to the movies with my family and pay for the ticket of the stranger behind me as one of three acts of kindness in Ethan’s memory, and will ask the person at the ticket counter to give this to the person along with their ticket. https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B0kiwMSwIFJ-SHdXaFZuWm1UeFU/edit?usp=sharing
Ahmie, I think that is a wonderful thing!! I’m going to borrow your idea!!
Perfectly worded, Meriah. #justiceforethan. btw, needed that Twitter 101. Thanks!
I completely agree with pretty much everything you’ve said here…but let’s not forget that perpetrators (particularly law enforcement) gets off with a hand tap when the victim is Black, Latin@, trans, etc, all the time.
Fantastic! Sharing, emailing, and getting the button! Rock on!
i also signed a petition on petitions.whitehouse.gov asking the president to compel the doj to investigate. please mention that as well.
The Twitter approach is awesome!! And I love the button. It’s on my personal facebook page as my profile pic.
I will be tweeting every day, and using these tags, so please add more….I stink at “The Twitter”. 😉
Thanks so much for this.
I noticed that the change.org petition has almost reached the 7,500 signatures it was looking for. Why are we stopping there? I know that some of the other petitions on that site had tens of thousands of signatures. Just wondering why it’s being cut off at 7500?
No, it goes on to the next level from there. It works in increments (as I understand it) – the first one was 2,500. The on to 5,000, etc. I think when it reaches 10k, they HAVE to pay attention
This is a very unfortunate incident that took place but the cops are not to blame. Ethan was resisting officers and they had to do what they had to do to restrain him. Unfortunately, a common problem with Down Syndrome is low muscle tone and heart issues. That is what probably caused the suffocation. If anyone resists the police they are going to the ground and usually the officer’s knee will be used to hold him down. This is normal procedure. Ethan was a very large man so it took multiple officers to restrain him. This has nothing to do with having Down Syndrome, being black or what ever. The police followed procedure. Unfortunately, Ethan’s underlying condition caused him to suffocate. Again, this is a very unfortunate incident but the police are not to blame for this.
Actually, Jeff, with all due respect, it doesn’t matter if Ethan had every breathing problem known to man.
The hog-tie hold, and placing someone in a “face-down” position while in that hold, has been known by law enforcement to cause death in many, many situations. The means in which this restraint causes death is through a condition known as positional asphyixiation, and it is non-discriminating. That is, it causes death in healthy people, people under the influence of drugs, sober people, drunk people, fat people, skinny people, white people, black people, people with strong hearts, people with half a lung, people with 2 lungs, etc. (If you’ve lived in the south for any length of time, you know the reason its called a “hog-tie”…..sometimes, we don’t like wasting bullets on hogs).
The Dept. of Justice banned this restraint in 1995, and every major Police Trainer strongly advocates against this restraint. Professional and educated/trained police officers do not use it and have been trained not to use it.
So, with all due respect, the off-duty sheriff deputies were to blame for their negligence.
On top of that, Frederick County Sheriffs have a HUGE history of this kind of “shoot-first, cover-up later” behavior. Read about it on my blog here: http://wp.me/p37gLn-m6 (What’s going on in the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office).
As to the part where he allegedly “resisted officers”, there is a dispute of fact as to whether he resisted anything, except resistance to suffocation (we know his last words were a cry for his Mommy). It depends on whose version of the story you read. This is why we are seeking an independent investigation.
Regardless, any citizen of this country has a right to resist and disregard the “orders” of civilians – and that is how they appeared to Ethan, as civilians. They were off-duty, and mall-cop uniforms (if they were even wearing them) do not make one law-enforcement and do not give the actor the right to act “under color of law”.
Moreover, the orders of these plain-clothed, off-duty, thugs that appeared to be civilians were in direct contradiction to the direction of Ethan’s health care worker. If you are a 26 year old man with medical issues, who are you going to listen to: Your medical chaperone, or Joe Rent-a-Cop? I’m going with the medical profession (with apologies to the rent-a-cop profession).
So, yes, it is the fault of the 3 off-duty thugs that Ethan is dead.
As much as I love and support and defend our men and women in blue, these 3 thugs are a disgrace to the profession, and as a result, a Mother’s son is dead.
Won’t you join our efforts to find #JusticeforEthan?
Little Bird’s Dad
My own daughter came very close to having an experience just like the murder of Robert Saylor when she laid down on the floor of an art museum. I will get involved! Thank you for this info!