FREDERICK, Md. (WUSA9) -- Thursday, the state of Maryland took a step closer towards justice for Ethan Saylor.
He's the Frederick man with Down Syndrome who died in police custody last January after being forcibly removed from a movie theater for not having a $12 movie ticket.
This was a bittersweet day as this deadline for the commission's first report was also the day that would've been Ethan's 27th birthday.
Patti Saylor, Ethan's mom, came to Thursday's meeting to thank the members. She says, "Our loss is a gift to us to do something with."
Tim Shriver, a longtime advocate, is the Chair of the Commission for Effective Community Inclusion of Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. He says, "The goal of the Commission is to make Maryland the best state in the country, if not the world, at promoting the inclusion and welcome of people with intellectual and developmental differences throughout the life cycle."
It was January 12th, 2013, when Ethan and his aide went to a Frederick movie theater. Ethan did not want to leave, he wanted to watch the film a second time. Three off-duty sheriff's deputies working as security forcibly removed Ethan for not having a second ticket.
He died in police custody. The medical examiner ruled it a homicide, pointing to unexplained damage to his trachea.
Shriver says the commission's first task was to see if there was a statewide model for training that proved effective and could be replicated. They did not find one. The report also recommends that training should expand past just police to hospitals, courts, schools, etc. Shriver says the training needs to incorporate the people who will benefit most from it, "We see marshalling the gifts of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities as agents of education not just as recipients of services but as trainers."
It is a huge leap forward for the state, but for Patti, she's just trying to put one foot in front of the other, and it's not easy, "Privately at home, I have my tears, I have my disbelief, I'm sad, I'm distraught but then I gather myself and I come to be a part of what's going on after his death," says Ethan's mom.
Next, the commission will embark on a listening tour this month and next to gather community input. See below for dates and time:
January 16th - 6:30-8:30pm Montgomery College Cultural Arts Center, Silver Spring
January 28th - 6:30-8:30pm Community College of Baltimore County, Catonsville Campus, 800 S. Rolling Road, Baltimore
February 10th - 6:00-8:00pm Talbot County Community Center
February 22nd - 1:00-3:00pm The Arc of Frederick County, 620 Research Ct., Frederick