On January 14, 2013, a young man with Down Syndrome went with his companion to see Zero Dark Thirty at the Regal Cinema in Frederick, MD. At the end of the movie, apparently because he wanted to see it again, he refused to get out of his seat. A Regal employee, rather than allowing him to stay and dealing with the situation later with his parents and the companion, called not one, not two, but three off duty Frederick County police officers who were working security for the theater at the time.
According to published reports, when the officers/ security guards asked him to leave, he mouthed off at them and “resisted arrest”. Those of you who know my son Landon can visualize what this would look like. In response, the officers wrestled him to the ground where he asphyxiated in handcuffs. The handcuffs were removed and EMS called and according to the police news release he later died at hospital. I don’t know how that reconciles with the coroner’s finding of asphyxiation which I thought was pretty immediate.
The price of a ticket at the cinema is between $9 and $11. The additional cost to Regal of allowing him to watch the movie again was ZERO. But instead a beloved young man died on the floor of a movie theater in his neighborhood at the hands of people he was taught would protect him.
The police officers remain on duty and were allowed to invoke their rights as police officers not to provide statements even though they were not on duty or performing official duties at the time. They were security guards in police uniforms.
The county police are investigating and the story has received local news coverage. Please share this everywhere both to ensure justice but also to raise public awareness.
Where is our humanity when a young, obviously disabled young man dies for the price of a movie ticket. My son is worth a lot more to me and society than eleven dollars.