Robert Ethan Saylor (Photo from Stauffer Funeral Home)
WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- Eight months after Robert "Ethan" Saylor died in police custody, people are using social media to ask Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley to act.
It was back in January when three off-duty Frederick County Sherrif's Deputies forcibly removed the 26-year-old Frederick man with Down Syndrome from a movie theater for not having a $12 ticket. Since that time, people have taken to social media and the power of the internet to make their case.
Friday alone, more than 100 people used Facebook to ask Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley to launch an independent investigation.
This movement grows every day, just as the commitment to finding answers grows within 23-year-old Emma Saylor, Ethan's sister. She never asked for the spotlight, but Emma took her own raw emotion at losing her brother Ethan, and generated a 346,000 signature-strong Change.org petition that demanded attention. This week she gave her first extended radio interview to health advocate Gail Zahtz.
Emma said,"Ethan didn't die because he stopped breathing, he died because of a fractured cartilage in his throat. We want to know how that happened...he had his larynx, his voicebox was fractured and there was blood found in his throat and his lungs and his nose and none of that is explained in the report anywhere."
Emma is talking about a 90-plus page report issued by the Frederick County Sherrif's office. She says it generated more questions than gives answers. A grand jury heard from the county, not the Saylors or witnesses according to Emma, and cleared the deputies of wrongdoing.
Zahtz, who is the host of Health and Design Today, dedicated a week of her BlogTalkRadio show to Ethan's story, "They're absolutely correct that there needs to be an independent investigation. So many questions have not been answered. It's inexcusable. This is definitely a national issue, this could have been anyone's child, this was not even about Down Syndrome, this could have been anyone's child the way it happened."
O'Malley met with Emma And her mom Patti recently when they presented the third of a million signatures to him. The petition also asks for more training.
O'Malley said he was on board for the training but undecided on whether or not he would launch that independent investigation.
Link to Emma's interview
Link to Debra's interview
Link to change.org petition