WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- The movement is picking up steam, and now, more than a quarter of a million people are behind a Frederick woman's fight for justice for her dead brother.
Emma Saylor launched a change.org petition asking for an independent investigation into the death of her brother, Robert Ethan Saylor, a man with Down Syndrome who died in January after being detained by police. As of Thursday night, that petition had more than 312,000 signatures.
Ethan Saylor died after an altercation with three off-duty Frederick County sheriff's deputies over a $12 movie ticket at a Frederick movie theater in January. Almost 8 months later, his family, including his sister, Emma, are struggling to find their new normal, "Kinda lost, I mean, there really isn't anything else to say about it other than he's my brother, I just want to know what happened."
If you take a look around the Saylor house, reminders of Ethan are everywhere.
If you look at Change.org, the petition site effecting change throughout the country, he has top billing there too. And now, Maryland Senator Brian Frosh is asking the Governor to act too.
After Ethan's death, ruled homicide by asphyxia, the Frederick County Sheriff's department investigated itself, and cleared the three deputies of any wrongdoing. Emma says they need closure, "I think that if there was an independent investigation into what happened ... so that my family can get a sense of peace and closure cause at this point we still have a lot of unanswered questions. "
Ethan's death not only puzzles those who love him most, it's sparked questions and outrage on the petition.
Stephanie Holland of Tennessee has a son with Down Syndrome, knows the Saylors, writes a blog and is part of the core #JusticeForEthan movement, writing, promoting awareness and pushing for answers.
"There are plenty of people that think that it wasn't the deputies fault that they weren't trained. And they think that if the police had been trained they might have been able to respond or to know that Ethan's caregiver was the one that they needed to listen to in this instance. This is not just our story, it's not just a Frederick story, it's not just a Down Syndrome story, it affects everybody," Holland said.
Ethan's mom, Patti Saylor, says she misses him every day, "His sense of humor, his sense of delight, and he amount of love and attention he gave out every day, it's just incredible that he's not here."
The petition asks Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley, and Attorney General Doug Gansler to independently investigate Ethan's death.
It also calls for training for police in how to deal with differently-abled people.