You may have been shocked more than I was. After all, the local “Good Ole Boys,” I’ve written about extensively. More inured as a journalist, my system was still unpleasantly surprised Saturday by The Frederick News-Post headline: “No criminal charges in movie theater death”
As I wrote on TheTentacle.com less than a month ago (“Chuck Jenkins’ More-Than-Rough Patch”), the present county sheriff is becoming very expensive for taxpayers to keep around. Frederick State’s Attorney Charlie Smith enabled the Sheriff’s Department to avoid criminal courtroom, but a civil suit looms likely.
As on February 26, the subject remains Robert Ethan Saylor who died when deputies tried to force him out from the Regal Cinemas Westview on January 26, exactly a month before. Mr. Saylor had Down’s Syndrome. He went to “Zero Dark Thirty” with an 18-year-old caretaker; she was fetching the car to take her charge home when the fatal incident happened. In his condition, Mr. Saylor refused to leave his seat.
Much of the guilt must be consigned to the Cinema ushers and to Hill Management that hired the off-duty deputies for security at the popular mall, as I’m sure attorneys have told them. I didn’t know Mr. Saylor, but I’ve seen before others with Down’s Syndrome; they always bear stigma of their affliction. I go to Regal Cinemas at least once a week, for the Friday morning chat with WFMD radio’s Bob Miller; I can’t imagine the ushers I know pushing the panic button. But they did, that Saturday.
When Chuck was sworn in six-and-a-half years ago, he expressed to me the Westview security was of concern to him; he ordered the deputies to leave home their uniforms. In the January 26 tragic event, all the sheriff’s fears were realized. But as I said in the previous column: he has only himself to blame.
Foreigners are not appreciated in Frederick. The Greeks, of course, had a word: xenophobia. Sheriff Jenkins’ cooperation with the Immigration and Custom Enforcement agency started before he was elected; his department is one of the few law-enforcement offices that are known to be almost slavish to the Feds. Of course, he won votes, but at such a price!
Several county shooting jobs done by deputies have cost taxpayers heavily. Deputies let loose their official weapons and bullets, as many as 18 in the direction of a man who raised a shotgun. On February 26, I wrote:
“In this Republican county, where all elected officials belong to the GOP, I wrote off the sheriff’s position on immigration to politics; not realizing – or admitting – that would give the sworn officers an impression, as individuals, are above laws. They think themselves superior beings obviously, able to discern citizens having committed crimes – without catching them in the act. The whole department is infected by this Uebermensch act, and taxpayers have paid big bucks.”
The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner said that Mr. Saylor’s death was homicide. On Friday, the Frederick County Grand Jury found otherwise; every homicide is committed by a killer. The local GOB pronounced Robert Evan Saylor a “virgin homicide.”
Whether Democratic or Republican “the Good Ole Boys” make sure the seats of their pants are covered.
Too bad for ordinary citizens.