Justice for Ethan?

At the Global Down Syndrome Foundation, we believe the discrimination against people with Down syndrome in this country is rooted in the historical lack of human and civil rights for people who are differently-abled. We support and applaud the National Down Syndrome Congress and the National Down Syndrome Society working with Robert Ethan Saylor’s family and the Department of Justice to ensure Ethan’s death is not forgotten and to ensure similar unnecessary deaths are prevented in the future. Below is a joint statement with several other Down syndrome organizations addressing this tragedy.

But there is still a burning question.

Every day in every country, there are violations of human and civil rights. In this country, we have a body of law to protect people from such violations and we have organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Anti-Defamation League (ADL), NAACP, Amnesty International and ARC.

But people do fall through the cracks, and to date we don’t have a human rights watchdog specifically for people with Down syndrome. The question is – should we? Should we have a nonprofit with a roster of lawyers who go after violations in this country and perhaps others?

Joint Statement Regarding the Robert Ethan Saylor Case

Global Down Syndrome Foundation (Global), International Down Syndrome Coalition (IDSC), International Mosaic Down Syndrome Association (IMDSA), National Down Syndrome Congress (NDSC) and National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) continue to share deep sadness over the tragic and preventable death of Robert Ethan Saylor.

Each organization is addressing this situation in a manner keeping with their particular mission and all the organizations have been in close communication regarding various initiatives. We are all united in condemning this tragic death and are committed to working together to uphold the human and civil rights of people with Down syndrome and their families.

NDSC and NDSS have taken the lead in this case and have met with the local Frederick County affiliate, members of the Saylor family, and the U.S. Department of Justice. Those interactions are ongoing and seek to support the Saylor family, while preserving all options available to them, and, at the same time, to prevent tragedies like Ethan’s death from occurring in the future.  Later this month, following another round of meetings with the Department of Justice and the family, NDSS and NDSC will present a joint “town hall” teleconference to share more information regarding initiatives and proposals to prevent this from occurring in the future.

We hear you.  We are listening.  And we intend to work as hard as we can, together, to prevent this from ever happening again.  We need to stay united as one Down syndrome community that is focused on the bigger picture and justice for Ethan.

See what we are doing and how you can help.

National Down Syndrome Congress – www.ndsccenter.org
National Down Syndrome Society – www.ndss.org
International Down Syndrome Coalition – www.theidsc.org
Down Syndrome Affiliates in Action – www.dsaia.org
Global Down Syndrome Foundation – www.globaldownsyndrome.org
International Mosaic Down Syndrome Association – www.imdsa.org

Down Syndrome Affiliates in Action, working in its role as a trade association, continues to support and respect the efforts of the other national organizations as all work diligently to address this issue.

News links


Investigators still trying to determine cause of New Market man’s death
January 17 – The Frederick News-Post


Robert Saylor death ruled a homicide
February 15 – WJLA


Md. man with Down syndrome who died in police custody loved law enforcement
February 19 – Washington Post


Robert Ethan Saylor Case: No Charges For Police In Death Of Man With Down Syndrome
March 22 – Huffington Post


Down Syndrome and a Death
March 27 – The New York Times

NDSC Press Release on Department of Justice meeting

NDSS Press Release on Department of Justice meeting

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