Day 6 of 8 Days for Ethan.
TODAY’S GOAL: To find out how YOUR police department would have responded if it was your child in a movie theater in your city/town.
(Note from Little Bird’s Dad: We will be back with Day 7 of “8 Days for Ethan” on Wednesday, April 10th, as I have to go to a hearing for my day job tomorrow. …until then, keep promoting that White House Petition).
What bothers a lot of parents of children with Down Syndrome about the Ethan Saylor murder is that it could have been our child that was brutalized by police. This should bother parents of children without Down Syndrome, too. We should all ask ourselves:
* What if it was my son that never came home from the movies?
* What if it was my son that police asphyxiated because they were too quick to use physical force?
So that is the focus of today’s 15 minutes of action in the 8 Days for Ethan Campaign– we are going to find out how your local police or sheriff would have handled this situation.
After all, Ethan’s death is not the first time that police have seriously injured individuals with Downs Syndrome. Here are just 3 recent examples:
- San Diego, California (Vista): Police beat a 21 year old man with Downs Syndrome with a baton and pepper-sprayed him while he was out taking a walk. Seems the police had been called to his neighborhood for an unrelated domestic violence call. The police assumed the man with Downs was involved in the attack – he was not – and they pepper-sprayed him and beat him with a baton because he didn’t answer the police quick enough.
- Miami, FL: Police beat a 21 year old man with Downs Syndrome because he had a suspicious bulge in his pants – a colostomy bag.
- Cleveland, OH: Police, investigating a robbery in a neighborhood, pick up a 17 year old boy with Downs Syndrome and “slam him into the police car like a football player”. His crime? Sitting on the curb listening to a walkman.
Step 1: Find the address or fax of your local police chief or Sheriff. (Total Time: 5 minutes)
The Google will help you find this. I suggest getting the address for every city or town that you or your son or daughter spends time in. For example, I wrote to the Dallas City Police, the Richardson City Police (a nearby suburb) and the Dallas County Sheriff.
Step 2: Download and edit the attached letter template. (Total Time: 2 minutes)
You will have to tweak this letter to fit your situation – I’ve highlighted the portions that should be tweaked in a “red” font. Once you are done making your changes, print the letter.
Here’s the letter template, in MS Word format: Letter to your Local Police
Step 3: Send the letter to your local police. (Total Time: 7 minutes)
Once you mail the letter or fax, give it a few days. Then, calendar phone calls to the Chief of Police or sheriff’s office to start following up. The goal is to learn how your local police would have handled the situation.
Step 4: Post the city and town and name of your police chief. (Total Time: 3 minutes)
Once you’ve sent the letter, post the following in the comments section:
Police Chief or Sheriff’s Name:
This will allow me to follow up with select police offices to see if they have responded to your request. If you get a response, come back here and update your comments – tell us how your local police would have handled the situation.by