On 12 January 2011 Robert Ethan Saylor, a 26 year old with Down-syndrome, died in police custody after a dispute over an unpaid movie ticket. His death was considered homicide by asphyxiation at the hands of three off duty police officers.
His lungs and throat were filled with blood, yet the Frederick County State’s Attorney attributed his death to Down Syndrome. The deputies have been cleared of charges as the investigation was conducted by a branch of the Frederick County Sheriffs Department.
In April 2015, State lawmakers approved a proposal to open a Maryland Department of Disabilities alliance named after Ethan Saylor. The alliance would seek to involve developmentally or intellectually disabled people in training law enforcement officers.
Disability advocates had also stressed the importance of relationships between police officers and those who have disabilities.