Insist my case be resolved in a Veterans Treatment Court!
This petition had 6,647 supporters
I used to think that as a veteran of the U.S. military, I was safe, at least while in America, from being brutally arrested with no warning, thrown into a tiny cell by myself for three days, and then charged by my own government with assaulting the very officers who had dragged me around by my wrists and ankles.
But then I went to Philadelphia last summer, and this happened: http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=3bf_1378009165
As you can see in the video, I had my back turned when multiple Park Service rangers grabbed me by my wrists, bent me over a park bench, picked me up by my arms and legs, dragged me away from a crowd, dropped me face-first on the ground (as you can see in these photos: desrowvisuals.com/Arrests/Philadelphia-Arrest-83113/), then carried me to a truck, threw me in – again face-first – and dropped me off at the Philly Federal Detention Center, where I was kept for three days without any explanation. Now, believe it or not, I'm being charged with assaulting these rangers. My trial date is July 2, 2014.
My attorney has explained to the prosecutor that the violent nature of my arrest triggered PTSD from traumas I'd experienced in the military, and requested that the government's case against me be resolved in a federal veterans' court in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, so that my experience as a combat veteran would be a serious factor when considering my reaction to being grabbed from behind without warning.
The prosecutor has refused my attorney's request, even though his boss, Attorney General Holder, has personally been a cheerleader of Veterans Treatment Courts:
"There’s a crying need for more of these kind of efforts ... It was once said that so many owe so much to so few, we owe them in the most profound of ways.” (http://www.msnbc.com/the-cycle/vets-rehab-rather-prison)
The article goes on to report that under Attorney General Holder, official Department of Justice policy now states that veterans get 'involved in the criminal justice system with co-occurring substance abuse and mental health issues' – they risk going to prison because of drugs and strain from their service, basically. The Department encourages Veterans Courts as a rehabilitation model, noting they better serve 'veterans struggling with addiction, serious mental illness' and PTSD, problems associated with 'higher rates of drug abuse, domestic violence and other criminality.'"
So why is it that a prosecutor in Eric Holder's Justice Department is so blatantly disregarding his public support for veterans like me, who have already been asked to risk life and limb to support America's wars?
It's just one of the many things about this case that doesn't make sense.
That's why I'm asking you to help me keep Attorney General Holder and his entire department honest – sign my petition if you believe he should honor his commitment to resolve PTSD- and miltary trauma-related cases against veterans in Veterans Treatment Courts. That's one very clear way he can "support the troops."
As of this moment, there have been no cases of this nature (nonviolent/non-drug-related) settled in veterans courts. If this petition is granted, it will set an important precedent in our legal system that will ensure that combat veterans' unique experience is given the consideration that our government already claims to give, but clearly isn't.
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Emily Yates needs your help with “Eric Holder: Insist my case be resolved in a Veterans Treatment Court!”. Join Emily and 6,646 supporters today.