It has been 19 months since the death of my son, Ethan Saylor, at the Regal theaters in Frederick at the hands of three off-duty Frederick County sheriff’s deputies. During that time, law enforcement agencies across the country have risen to the challenge to improve relationships with community members with intellectual and developmental challenges.

The Maryland Police and Correctional Training Commissions have embraced the need for change and with others have developed a comprehensive program of training new recruits and in servicing current officers. The city of Frederick, Montgomery, Queen Anne’s, Harford, Caroline, Prince George’s, Howard and Anne Arundel counties, and other municipalities have actively sought out training and activities to improve relationships with community members with disabilities, the goal being safety and positive outcome for all when law enforcement personnel intersect with people with intellectual/developmental disabilities or mental health issues.

The governor of Maryland established the Commission for Effective Community Inclusion of Individuals with Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities. The commission is diligently working with representatives of law enforcement, Maryland State Department of Education, the Maryland emergency medical system, Maryland Public Transportation, self-advocates, the Maryland court system, and state disability organizations and advocates to make systemic change.

The U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division is investigating the circumstances of my son’s death. The Justice Department’s Special Litigation Unit is investigating the policies and practices of the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office.

The U.S. Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights held a hearing on the issue of the safety of people with disabilities interacting with law enforcement. I testified at this hearing along with others committed to this issue.

The International Association of Chiefs of Police reached out to me and other advocates to assist in updating their policies.

The ARC of the United States received a grant from the Justice Department to create the National Center on Criminal Justice and Disability.

These facts bring me to the missed opportunity — all these people and organizations are not blaming the victim. They know changes in policy, practices and training will prevent similar incidents in the future.

Where is Frederick County? Why no representation or participation in moving forward on this issue? Any word from the sheriff’s office or commissioners has been to defend the actions of the officers and cast negative light on the victim. This accomplishes nothing. I understand Sheriff Chuck Jenkins consented to send officers to training conducted by Mount St. Mary’s University. This was done in isolation and only after turning down an offer by a national leader in the field from the University of Niagara. A free train-the-trainer opportunity was turned down! Fact: Frederick County officials have not only not embraced change, they have denied the need for change. Law enforcement officers deserve training to do their job. Citizens deserve understanding of their differences.

In my humble opinion, the county commissioners and Sheriff Jenkins have missed the boat on this national issue.

While I do not expect the current sheriff or anyone else will ever accept responsibility for their part in what happened to my son, I do expect my county to lead the way forward. The rest of the country is watching. Frederick County is missing a great opportunity to shine on the national stage and look informed and proactive.

Disparaging comments about my son or others with similar intellectual challenges only further supports the outdated image of Frederick County citizens as backward, narrow-minded, discriminating, uneducated country folk.

Speak up on Election Day this November! Karl Bickel for sheriff and Jan Gardner for county executive. Please join me in voting for Karl and Jan!

Demand that Frederick County be seen as the diverse and caring community of people we really are.

Patti Saylor writes from Mount Airy.

(20) comments

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Extra Ignored

24. When Mr. Saylor returned to the theater he went to the same seat from where he watched the movie earlier, which was in the row immediately behind a railing in the upper part of the theater. That was the same general location where Mr. Saylor sat whenever he attended a movie at Regal Cinemas, where each of the screens has the same general seating configuration. Until others attempted to get Mr. Saylor to leave, he was, as attested to by numerous witness
accounts, sitting quietly in his seat not causing any disturbance or disruption. During the time he was in his seat Mr. Saylor called directory information several times, dialing “411.”

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The public was not in danger. Witness statements are that he was sitting quitely waiting for the movie to start before he was dragged out of the seat and his larnyx fractured.

When will you understand this was a civil trespass not a criminal trespass.

The management's remedy was to sue the patron for the cost of the movie ticket in civil court.


Inferior cops perform inferiorly.


If Karl Bickel would have already had this training in place if he were the Sheriff, then why didn't he put it into place when he had the chance while he was the chief deputy many years ago. If he had Ethan would be alive today Mrs. Saylor. Why don't you hold Bickel responsible too?

Extra Ignored

The policies of the previous sheriff became null and void in 2006 when the Chuck Jenkins took office.


To Thurmont40, my son was 26yrs old, he was his own legal guardian. He went through special education for 21 years, at no time did he have a behavior plan requiring him to have 1:1 supervision or restraint. He lived in an apartment with support staff to assist him with activities he could not perform on his own. He did not drive or handle his own money. I was constantly available to my son and his support staff by cell phone as I am with all my children. I was on my way to the theater to either pay for the ticket, watch the movie with him or give him a ride home. Clearly you have the wrong idea about my availability and involvement with my son. Feel free to contact me if you have further questions regarding my responsibility.

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Extra Ignored

The law is very complex. Please find another occupation if it is too challenging for you.

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Daycare providers are required by law to provide care for children with disabilities. Parents are not required to stop living or working because they have children with disabilities.

Unattended for a few minutes to get a car that is too far away for the disabled person to walk is not abandoned.

The woman who was in fact abandoned in a Tennessee bar wasn't killed by law enforcement. What did they know the Frederick County Sheriff's Office doesn't know.

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The sheriff misrepresents fact to protect his servants from their wrong doing instead of providing the training to do the job in a safe and effective manner.

Bransom said the state trains officers to always keep their service weapons unloaded while at home. Law enforcement officers should also store the ammunition separately and use a secondary security device, such as a safe or lock, Bransom said.

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The sheriff has created policies that left his servants believing their own perception of well being took presidence over the property and lives of suspects and innocent bystanders. Yet law enforcement receives hazard pay and receives benefits to take risks the public does not receive.

Sourdoh1 posted at 1:34 pm on Mon, Sep 1, 2014.

Posts: 275

I want a sheriff who will go in with the safety of his officers in mind first, protecting the property of innocent people second, and the safety of the looters and opportunists last. If that means armored vehicles and military style equipment so be it. Remember the officers should have the right to go home alive and not have to worry about what the unlawful crowd is carrying.


Karl's got my vote! I find it interesting how Jenkins has no responsibility on this issue,while the same people who defend him blame elected officials, at the highest most complex level, are held responsible? I guess it comes down to Not Thinking Big

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The sheriff failed to meet his legal duty to train his servants to be in compliance with the American with Disabilities Act and his negligence resulted in the death of a person who was disability.

A: Title II of the ADA prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in State and local governments services, programs, and employment. Law enforcement agencies are covered because they are programs of State or local governments, regardless of whether they receive Federal grants or other Federal funds. The ADA affects virtually everything that officers and deputies do, for example:
receiving citizen complaints;
interrogating witnesses;
arresting, booking, and holding suspects;
operating telephone (911) emergency centers;
providing emergency medical services;
enforcing laws;
and other duties.


Mrs. Saylor we all know your son died tragically and it's too bad it happened. From the very beginning when it was first reported my thought was, where were his parents. That your son had the challenges was known to you. Of course "hindsight is 20/20" but don't you think you should have been with him? That could have made all the difference. It's always easier to put the blame for our own shortcomings on someone else but to blame Sheriff Jenkins for this is just plain wrong. Sheriff Jenkins has and will continue to be responsible for the safety of the public in Frederick County. He runs a very progressive and proactive department. I'm sure if he even had the slightest idea something like this could happen he would have made provisions for training. Does your buddy Pickle have ESP or a crystal ball? He is quick to point out faults after the fact but I assure you no one could have seen this tragic accident coming and been able to stop it. Again, I'm sorry for your loss but you should accept the blame, as hard as it might be to do, and stop blaming everyone else.


Thurmont40 obviously doesn't have kids. Or else they would know it is impossible to be with your children (he was 26!) 24 hours a day - nor should you be.


You have no understanding on the role, responsibility, and liability that police carry. Police can not just kill someone and then it become someone else's fAult.

I'm not a police officer, and even I know that individuals with disabilities such as Ethan had become upset easily and that they injure easily. Doesn't it concern you that the police, the ones who Are to "serve and protect" were ignorant of these facts? How come I knew this but the police did not?

You can write all the words trying to put Mrs Saylor in her place. She is a grown adult. It's like this - Ethan was alive when the security guards arrived. And dead after the security guards had their hands on him. Who would ever expect the police to have done this? That's the last thing any parent would have ever thought of. This boils down to one thing: TRAINING AND EDUCATION

Extra Ignored

Respondeat superior relieves the tort victim of the need to prove that the master was directly negligent: it suffices to prove that the servant was negligent. Thus, if an employer reasonably creates a work situation in which employees can negligently injure people, respondeat superior means that the employer is liable without proof of employer negligence. For example, imagine a delivery service that reasonably trains employees and sends them out in reasonably well-maintained cars, but an employee carelessly runs a stop sign and hurts someone. Respondeat superior means that the employee's negligence will be deemed the employer's: the delivery company cannot take the (inconsistent) position that the employee is working for it (and her actions are theirs) when she makes deliveries properly but not when she runs stop lights. Because she ran the stop light while on its mission, the company is liable.

Boyce Rensberger

Thurmont40: Sheriff Jenkins does not run a progressive department. Far from it. His failings at his job and the backwardness of FCSO are well known, especially among police professionals outside of Frederick County.

Jenkins did not need a crystal ball to see what happened in this case. He saw it happen for real, and yet he did nothing about it for more than a year. It was only after Mount St. Mary's University urged him to train his deputies that he sent some of them to a course they offered.

In many parts of the country truly qualified sheriffs DO see events like this coming and train their people on how do deal with them. It has been standard practice for years. Jenkins simply did not and does not keep up with his own field.


Some dirty linen, about Karl's not quite perfect record with FCSO , and his departure from it, are about to appear. people close to the source tell me.

Extra Ignored

For better results, dirty linen can be washed with bleach.

Nobody cares about the rumors you pass at your ladies aid meetings trying to one up each other.

DOJ hasn't issued it's findings but perhaps they will be similar to these.

Based upon our extensive investigation, we find reasonable cause to believe that MCSO engages in a pattern or practice of unconstitutional policing.

Comment deleted.

This comment will not surprise her. The backwardness here is systemic.

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