Brandon Raub Facebook Fiasco: How Posting on Your Timeline Could Land You in the Madhouse
Prince George County Circuit Judge W. Allan Sharrett ordered the release of former Marine Brandon Raub, who had been detained “for psychiatric evaluation” after posting anti-government messages on his Facebook page – according to Morning Sun.
The judge said that the involuntary commitment order issued by a magistrate against Brandon J. Raub was invalid “because it contained no allegation or basis to hold him.”
“This is a great victory,” said John Whitehead, an executive director at the Rutherford Institute – a civil liberties organization defending 26-year-old Raub. “He’s a good human being. He just got caught in some weird bureaucratic meanderings and the judge recognized that there’s really no true facts to hold this man in a psychiatric ward,” Whitehead added.
Raub, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, was released from the Salem Veterans Affairs Medical Center late yesterday and was on his way back to his home in the Richmond area. He had been taken into custody on August 16 after being questioned by Chesterfield County police and federal agents over the aforementioned Facebook posts.
The FBI said the interview was prompted by complaints from people who read his "ominous" posts, including some that spoke of a "pending revolution." Another post said “a day of reckoning” was coming, and an additional one said: “Sharpen my axe; I’m here to sever heads.”
However, witnesses of the arrest shot a video of Raub being taken away from his home in handcuffs. They later posted it on YouTube, where the video went viral prompting support for the veteran and criticism of the government – which online comments said it stepped on Raub’s civil liberties. Raub, however, was never charged with a crime.
“People a have right to go on Facebook or the Internet (and) say things that people might not agree with,” Whitehead said. “But that doesn’t mean they’re crazy or should be incarcerated for it,” he added.
Or, does it?