After a man with Down Syndrome died while planted facedown in police custody, the Baltimore County Medical Examiner's Office ruled his death a homicide.
Robert Saylor and his health aid bought tickets to a movie, but Saylor refused to leave the theater once the movie ended. When police arrived, their response was to handcuff Saylor and force him to lie facedown on the ground. He died shortly afterward of positional asphyxiation.
No one should be killed for something as innocuous as refusing to leave a movie theater, but thanks to inadequate training, that's exactly what happened to Robert Saylor.
Clearly, it is vital that police forces learn to effectively and productively interact with all citizens, including people with disabilities.
Join us in asking the Department of Justice to implement a strong disability awareness training policy for officers and to ramp up the investigative protocol of alleged police homicides.
Every couple of months, another case of police brutality makes headlines. When a person with disabilities dies or is injured while in police custody, I don't want to wonder: "Could a death have been prevented?"
We've learned our lesson, now let's train police to communicate with people with disabilities. And, if a disabled person falls victim to an injury or death while in police custody, we shouldn't be throwing our hands up in the air about what allegedly happened.
Your comments inserted here.
Straightforward investigative standards must be in place for incidents like these so they are methodically dealt with in our justice system, instead of slipping through the cracks and alienating the disabled citizens of our country.
Prevent police brutality cases by finally giving police the training they need to address millions of disabled citizens.
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