Since Robert Saylor’s death has been ruled a homicide, the Frederick County Sheriff’s Department’s Facebook page has been lit up with hundreds of comments, saying the officers should be jailed and they are a disgrace and should be fired.
Sheriff Charles Jenkins has written a letter to the community, calling the incident “tragic” and urging people to reserve judgment. The sheriff was childhood friends with the victim’s father, making the case even more difficult.
“I really sympathize with his family. I wish we could have that moment in time back.”
Paul Voss knew Saylor through their church. This past weekend, the 26-year-old’s seat was covered with flowers.
“I think it’s a tragedy,” says Voss. “I think it seems to me that if something good could come out of this it would be that we learn to better handle a situation that clearly escalated into a tragedy.”
Frederick County’s top prosecutor is promising a thorough investigation into the death.
State’s Attorney Charlie Smith said Wednesday he has received the investigative file from the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office on the death of Saylor.
Saylor died of asphyxiation Jan. 12 after three sheriff’s deputies tried to forcibly remove him from a Frederick movie theater at the manager’s request. The state medical examiner’s office has ruled the death a homicide.
“There did come a point when they had to remove him from his seat,” says Jenkins. “There was no excess force. They did have to handcuff Mr. Saylor and unfortunately as they were walking out he suffered a medical emergency.”
Smith says the file doesn’t include the final autopsy report on Saylor. He says his office will need that document to complete its investigation.
Smith will then decide whether to bring criminal charges against the officers, or to present evidence to a grand jury.