The US Marine that was hauled off to a psychiatric ward last week over his Facebook posts has been transferred to a facility hundreds of miles away from his friends and family, all for what his attorneys call exercising his First Amendment right.
The Richmond, VA home of Brandon J. Raub, 26, was stormed by agents with the FBI, Secret Service and local law enforcement officers last Thursday after authorities became concerned with postings made by the retired Marine on his personal Facebook page that critiqued the federal government and challenged their explanations of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Raub was initially admitted to the John Randolph Medical Center in nearby Hopewell without being charged, but this week it is being reported that the man has been moved to Veterans Hospital in Salem, roughly 300 miles away.
The Rutherford Institute, Raub’s attorneys, filed an emergency motion to reject the transfer to the facility more than three hours away from his family, friends and legal team, but their request was denied. Under Virginia law, police are allowed to subject citizens to emergency, temporary psychiatric commitments if a mental health professional advises as such.
One week after Raub was first detained, little about his mental health has been revealed. His attorneys say the real focus, though, should be into why a federal investigation targeted their client over mere Facebook posts.
“This is not how justice in America is supposed to work — with Americans being arrested for doing nothing more than exercising their First Amendment rights, forced to undergo psychological evaluations, detained against their will and isolated from their family, friends and attorneys. This is a scary new chapter in our history,” Rutherford Institute President John W. Whitehead says in a statement released on Tuesday this week. “Brandon Raub is no different from the majority of Americans who use their private Facebook pages to post a variety of content, ranging from song lyrics and political hyperbole to trash talking their neighbors, friends and government leaders.”
In the days before Raub was detained, the marine used his Facebook profile as an outlet for messages such as, “The Revolution will come for me. Men will be at my door soon to pick me up to lead it” and “Sharpen up my axe; I'm here to sever heads.” In other posts published back to back on August 14, Raub links to a photo of the US Defense Department’s headquarters at the Pentagon, “right after our leaders shot a missle [sic] into it,” as he claims, and then a video he says shows “firefighters talking about the explosive charges placed within the twin towers.”
Raub's mother, Cathleen Thomas, tells the Associated Press that she believes the government overstepped its bound and, "The bottom line is his freedom of speech has been violated."