An Open Letter to Martin O’Malley: #JusticeForEthanPosted: September 6, 2013
Dear Governor O’Malley,
Please order an independent investigation into Ethan Saylor’s homicide. Saylor was an American, brother, son, friend, and above all, a human being. His family deserves answers. His community deserves to know that a person with a disability has the same right to life as any other human being.
Your office made a statement that you wish to “focus on forward-looking strategies” to prevent any more deaths such as Saylor’s. Without truth and accountability, there is no path forward.
The only way to ensure true accountability is through an independent investigation into the actions of those three deputies. The burden of action rests upon your shoulders. You must neither lean on the Sheriff Jenkins’s internal investigation into his own men, nor hold up a secretive grand jury ruling as evidence of due process. You were a criminal defense lawyer as well as a Maryland State’s Attorney. You know more than anyone that grand jury proceedings at the state level are largely political gestures that lack transparency and, therefore, credibility in contentious cases such as Saylor’s. You also know that the State’s Attorney is very intertwined with the local police forces and that both have a systemic interest in avoiding conflict. Sheriff Jenkins and State’s Attorney Smith may be good men but they cannot be without bias regarding Saylor’s case.
Furthermore, as the governor of Maryland, you must not lean on the federal government or a civil lawsuit to uncover facts of a case for you. Do you think that monetary damages can take the place of real accountability? What will you do if the Department of Justice uncovers information that Jenkins and Smith did not? How will it look if you refuse to investigate now?
You will look like a good ol’ boy politician who didn’t want to rock the police union vote. I’ve looked up your record. I understand you have a promising political career and that you are no stranger to hard decisions. I want to believe that you entered public office to advocate for us all, even if that meant making hard decisions. Use your power and stand for the truth. Order an independent investigation. Make me believe.
Training will be valuable, but it cannot take the place of an independent investigation. Why did the deputies chose to ignore the advice of Saylor’s caregiver? Why was his caregiver locked out of the theater instead of utilized to de-escalate the situation? Why was Saylor face down in a prone restraint for so long? Why didn’t the deputies wait until Saylor’s mother arrived to assist? Why was Saylor’s larynx crushed? The Saylor family and the entire disability community needs answers; no kind of training can prevent a similar death if the truth remains buried.
Finally, I know that an independent investigation could reveal no evidence of wrongdoing. Such a possibility only adds to the argument that an independent investigation is vital. Those three deputies must either be held accountable or freed from the dark cloud of suspicion undoubtedly hanging over their heads. Through an independent investigation, you will have pursued the truth and allowed all to move forward. You will have done the right thing for all involved.
Please be the politician who stands up for what is right, true, and just. Please be the one who shines a light on Ethan’s senseless death. You are a public servant, and the public has spoken. Over 340,000 people have asked you to order an independent investigation into Saylor’s homicide. We are waiting.
A Concerned Mother
Don’t let up, the fight is NOT OVER.
Make your voice heard.
Contact Governor O’Malley.
Call: (410) 974.3901
For updates on the Saylor case: #JusticeForEthan on Facebook