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Robert Saylor Homicide: Death Of Man With Down Syndrome Prompts Deputies' Suspension

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Robert Saylor
Robert Saylor

Three deputies have been placed on leave in the wake of a medical examiner's report that labeled the death of a Maryland man with Down syndrome a homicide.

“After thorough consideration of all of the facts, I made the decision to place the deputies on administrative leave,” Frederick County Sheriff Charles Jenkins said in a statement obtained by WJLA. “When completed, the death investigation will be forwarded to the Office of the State's Attorney for Frederick County for review to determine if this case will be presented to a Grand Jury.”

WJLA reported on Friday that Robert Saylor, 26, of New Market, Md., was asphyxiated on Jan. 12, according to a medical examiner's ruling late last week, WJLA previously reported.

A "law enforcement source familiar with the case" told the station that Saylor "went into distress when he was put face down on the ground."

The Washington Post reports how Saylor, who was with a health aide, came into contact with Lt. Scott Jewell, Sgt. Rich Rochford and Deputy First Class James Harris:

As officials tell it, Saylor had been watching “Zero Dark Thirty” at a Frederick movie theater last month and, as soon as it ended, wanted to watch it again. When he refused to leave, a theater employee called three off-duty Frederick County sheriff’s deputies who were working a security job at the Westview Promenade shopping center and told them that Saylor either needed to buy another ticket or be removed.

Joseph Espo, an attorney representing Saylor's family, intimated to CBS News that he's concerned the sheriff's office might face a conflict of interest when investigating the actions of its own deputies.

"We just think it would have been preferable to have an outside agency take a look,” Espo said. "I think what [the family members] most want to see out of the investigation is a clear account of what happened and why it happened."

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