Last year, former Marine Brandon Raub was forcibly detained by federal agents and committed to a psychiatric ward for more than a month.
According to Raw Story, he was detained and committed because of controversial posts on Facebook. Raub sued. Now, Circuit Court Judge Allan Sharrett has refused to dismiss this lawsuit despite pressure from several FBI and Secret Service agents as well as local police officers.
In August 2012, Raub posted to his profile theories about the Sept. 11 attacks being an inside job. According to Huffington Post, he also posted some violent rap lyrics. On Aug. 16, local law enforcement and a few federal agents paid Raub a visit to discuss his Facebook posts. Raub cooperated despite not being obliged to do so. The officers did not have a warrant.
For some undisclosed reason, one of the officers called Michael Campbell, a county psychotherapist and described Raub. The psychotherapist, despite never having observed Raub, considered him “potentially dangerous,” and recommended he should be detained. At this point, the officers handcuffed Raub and drove him to the nearest jail before committing him into a psychiatric ward.
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The officers have since claimed that what occurred was not an arrest. Yet, his lengthy detainment and footage of the incident have all led to public outrage.
According to WND, Raub was detained for four days and then sentenced to 30 days of psychiatric evaluation. Shortly thereafter, however, another judge overruled the evaluation. Raub still decided to sue and the Rutherford Institute took his case. The officers being sued have rallied to have the lawsuit dismissed.
The officers claim that, in order to detain an individual, they need only prove, "probable cause that the individual poses a danger to himself or others.” Posts on Facebook, a public venue, are not immune to laws regarding public safety. However Raub’s attorneys argue that even so, the evidence of danger was far from probable since the officers only consulted a psychoanalyst who had never personally encountered Raub. The only information the psychoanalyst or the officers were privy to were Raub’s political views.
In light of a highly publicized prior case where a Massachusetts teenager was held in prison for four months for $500,000 bail after posting a violent Facebook comment.
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Incidents like these are not uncommon when courts defer to public safety concern over free speech.