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Probe Requested in Facebook Detention Case

Virginia Legislator Calls for Probe of Ex-Marine's Psychiatric Detention

Although Brandon Raub fully expected hostile feedback over his Facebook posts, he likely never expected law authorities to appear at his door. 

A long-time critic of the U.S. government and the Federal Reserve, the 26-year old former marine had published a series of posts on Facebook arguing, among other things, that the event of September 11, 2001 was a government plot, that the U.S. government is run by a closed group of insiders, and that the global elite consisted of "pedophiles who rape children."   His posts, peppered with comments over "starting the revolution" were certainly provocative but he was careful not to make formal threats that might lead to his being charged with a crime.  Instead, police officers came to the house in Chesterfield, Virginia where he had been living and took him, in handcuffs, to the John Randolph Psychiatric Hospital in Hopewell, VA for an involuntary psychiatric examination.

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There are still conflicting accounts concerning which law enforcement agencies were involved and the exact circumstances under which Raub was taken to hospital.   While representatives of the Chesterfield, Virginia police department insist that the former marine was never formally charged and that they were simply assisting the Federal Bureau of Investigations, the FBI has publicly denied being involved.  Both Brandon Raub and his mother insist that the FBI agents on the scene stated that Raub was taken into custody for "assaulting a Chesterfield police officer and making threats that were terrorist in nature."  

Brandon Raub was released from hospital after seven days when a judge determined that the 30-day detention order had been improperly filled out.   While Raub's attorneys hailed his release as a victory for free speech, serious questions still remain over why he was detained in a psychiatric hospital.    The case has been followed closely by the Rutherford Institute, a civil-liberties organization based in Charlottesville, Virginia.   Representatives from the Institute argue that Brandon Raub's arrest and detention violated state law and that he had only minimal contact with mental health workers during the seven days in wihch his mental status was supposedly being assessed. 

Acting on complaints relating to Brandon Raub's case, Virginia legislator Joseph D. Morrissey (D-Henrico) has called on Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli to launch a formal investigation into why he was arrested and detained.   In calling for the probe, Morrissey said that there was a "total breakdown of the system" and that he was calling for a state investigation of Chesterfield County police.   Police and mental health workers insist that they have done nothing wrong.

Brandon Raub has openly stated that he intends to sue Chesterfield police and the FBI for his arrest.  The case has become politically charged with  civil liberties groups condemning the use of mental health legislation to circumvent legal protections for free speech. 

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Romeo Vitelli, Ph.D. is a psychologist in private practice in Toronto, Canada.

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