I am asking for your help. I hope after reading this post you will share it with everyone you know. There is a petition below I am asking you to consider signing and finally there are some phone numbers I hope you will call to voice your feelings.
This is a post about a hero, a man who has served this country for a long time. It is a post about a man who has paid a heavy price for his service. It is a post about the struggles he faces every day but it is more importantly a post about injustice. It is a post about a local government that has told him that because of one incident he will be arrested if he tries to even enter a governmental office in that County. It is about unfairness and a horrible miscarriage of justice. It is about what it means to be a veteran with mental health issues. It is about disability. It is about rights and justice. It is about something that should never have happened but it did.
It is about Bradley Lavite.
Bradley served 3 tours of duty in Iraq. He has had numerous decorations and honors. Upon returning home to Madison County, Illinois he has served as the Superintendent of the Veterans Assistance Committee in his County. His job had been to give back to others and be a person other veterans can turn to for support and resources to help them find a life they deserve.
Bradley, as many people who have had similar experiences do, has struggled with PTSD. In 2014 he began to have more serious problems and sought to find help. In 2015 police were called to his house in early March for what was described as “erratic behavior.” His family explained the situation to the police. They told them he was receiving care at the St. Louis VA Medical Center. Police took him into protective custody telling the family he would be taken to the ER and then transferred to the VA Medical Center. Police handcuffed him and put him in the back of a cruiser. They told him that instead of the VA Center he would be transferred to a local hospital he had already had one very bad experience with. Desperate, agitated and feeling more than a little betrayed he went off. He ended up kicking the rear windows out of the cruiser.
Eventually he did make it to the VA center. They said he had a PTSD induced psychotic episode partially due to medication problems. The local police department did not want to charge him if he paid for the damages which he did. He was still charged however and in court the charges were reduced to a misdemeanor. He completed the hospital and was released by his psychiatrist to go back to work with no restrictions. As far as she was concerned it had been a single episode and he did not pose a risk to anyone.
Despite all this, despite his record of service, and the good he had done in the community he was told by the county supervisor he would be arrested if he even stepped into a county building. They had decided he was not safe. They tried to get the Veterans Assistance Committee to fire him. Their board gave him a 100% vote of confidence and refused to fire him.
For the last year Bradley Lavite has not even been allowed in his own office. He has done his job in local VFWs, clubs, anyplace that would give him an open space.
These are the basic facts. The petition below goes into more detail. It also gives you the names and phone numbers of people of people you can call and express your support of him. I hope you will do that and encourage others to do the same.
Every person in this country with mental health issues or a disability knows what it means to be treated as if your rights don’t matter. Too many people know what it means to be stigmatized as violent and treated as if they were a danger. What happened to Bradley Lavite was wrong. It was a violation of his rights to due process. It was a violation of him as a person. It is an abomination that a veteran that has given so much would be treated so badly. More than that it was an assault on every person who has struggled with their own issues and tried to build a measure of recovery in their own life. This is not just about Bradley Lavite. It is about each of us.
Please read and sign the petition. Call the people identified in the petition. And pass the word on to others.
Stand with Bradley Lavite today. Stand for justice. Stand for all of us.