My True Horror Story: One Woman’s Phone Call to the TF Green Airport Results in an Assault, Unlawful Arrest, Detainment, and Hospitalization

The true story below involves police brutality and my own personal struggles, but it is also about systemic problems with laws on detention, airport security, state police, emergency applications, the profit motive in psychiatric wards, and the exploitation of those diagnosed with mental disorders. I think it demonstrates how easy it is be locked up in protective custody without cause, and I think it also shows that people with mental disorders are far more likely to be targeted by police and unscrupulous wards much like other minorities.

I initially wrote this just for myself, but I think it could help others too. This story is long because so much happened in this short period of time, but I feel like it is all relevant.

September 2011:

I had decided to move to California because my cousin, Ryan, lived there at the time. I convinced myself that California was the only place I could go where things would get better for me. I had lived in Providence for about 20 years and I was unhappy. I related to almost no one in my Middle school dominated by rich, conservative kids who constantly teased me for having a Jewish last name and being an outspoken liberal. High school was also tough.

Three years before my trip to California, I bought a gun so I could go target shooting around my eighteenth birthday. I wanted to vent frustration, and what better way to do that than through a shotgun? I shot clay targets a few times on a shooting range in Rhode Island. It was fun. I took gun ownership seriously. I realized the real power behind it, and it made be feel better to have it after a break in that happened a few years prior. Years later I figured I would bring the shotgun with me to California because I didn’t want to sell it. I called the airline in advance to make sure it was legal to check a firearm as baggage and found out it is, as long as you follow a few rules. It needs to be locked in a gun case and unloaded, so I bought a case and a lock for it and unloaded it. (I discarded the shotgun shells because I didn’t think it was legal to fly with them) before locking it up.

I had a car at the time, but I had just sold it to my mom, and she wanted it to stay at the house. So I looked on the internet for a taxi in my town, but several of the first cab companies didn’t pick up. One company told me I would have to wait about an hour for the next cab. So I called my mom, not sure what to do. She sent her receptionist (I won’t use her real name, but refer to her as Jane) at her office to come drive me.

Jane and I got along decently well because she often just showed up at our house and was personable. She would even say I was “like a son to her.” But she seemed like a selfish person at heart, always looking for a raise and buddying up to me to get it. When she picks me up, she notices I am nervous but also excited. I look preoccupied because I am in a rush. I probably should have noticed how my behavior was being misinterpreted.

Jane sees my gun case and asks if it is a gun and I confirm. I had not thought much of this at the time. I did not think she would even ask about it. She tells me “You can’t bring that on a plane.” But I explain I already called the airport to make sure it was allowed. She shows no more concern about it, and then we start to drive. She drives about 10 miles per hour down my street and I know we won’t make it on time. It’s about 2:38 pm at that point. Then, I suggest driving because I know I can at least get there faster if I drive. She agrees.

My mom calls her and asks what’s going on, but Jane shows no concern on the phone. We don’t get far from the house before she says she wants to drive, so I pull over. I have no idea the gun is still on her mind and what she has planned. Then, I remember I left my plane ticket on the table at home and we have to go back and get it. (There are several ways to verify your identity and get your ticket when you arrive at most airports, but I didn’t know this at the time, and Jane insisted I needed the ticket.)

When we get back to my house, I get the ticket and I tell her I can just take my old car and leave the key for my mom at the airport or send it to her if she doesn’t want to drive with me. She agrees and I get on the road. She needs to get back to office anyway. But there is something off about her behavior.

Unbeknownst to me, while I get my ticket, Jane calls the airport police to report that I have a gun and that she is “worried about me,” which is enough to get the whole battalion of state police at the TF Green Airport testosterone going. (They were surely bored and looking for something like this to happen.) When I get to the airport and gather my bags to start walking to my terminal, I see state troopers walking fast towards my direction. It looks like they just received an emergency call, and I wonder who did what. Then, they start to run directly towards me, and I stop walking. They don’t seem to care since they tackle me anyway, cutting both my knees, my hands and right elbow. (This tactic is commonly used by police when they don’t want you to know you are being arrested because they expect you are an imminent threat, which of course, I wasn’t.)

Once they all pile on top of me, they handcuff me and I immediately ask what is going on. They do not respond, but I don’t resist because resisting arrest is currently a ridiculous crime, (as if not wanting to go to jail is another crime. Even individuals who haven’t committed a crime to begin with have lost in court battling resisting arrest charges. If cops assume you are threat and they want to arrest you, they can get away with it no warrant needed, because even if they have no criminal charges to stick you with then they will just section eight you, and then it’s up to doctors to decide whether or not you are a threat.) They then go through my pockets and ask me what I’m doing with all the cash. My wallet with a bounty of $86 has already been taken out of my pocket. (For those who weren’t aware, cops will stick their hands in your pockets and pants and fish around, and often grab your crotch, if they think you’re holding something illegal. This is a violation of our fourth amendment rights, but cops do it all the time regardless. This has happened to me more than once.) Then, they get to the shotgun in the locked case like they just found treasure. I am confused and explain I called in advance about it, but they don’t want to hear any of it. They’ve already made up their minds. They throw me in the back of one of their police SUVs, and bring me back to their holding cells at the airport. No one speaks. I am shocked.

I ask the bald cop in the passenger seat to read me my Miranda rights if I am under arrest, and he says, “Don’t talk to us about rights.” This isn’t encouraging. When I get escorted to a cell, I see there is a dog cage in it, which they hastily shove out and they shove me in the cell. They strip search me, tell me I can’t wear shoes or socks, confiscate them, and leave me in this cell barefoot with so many unanswered questions: “What did I do? What am I being charged with? How did this happen?”

Cop after cop comes in to question me. They press me. They try to intimidate me. They want me to feel “guilty” of something if they can. But I explain everything since I have nothing to hide. The gun was legally purchased. I told them exactly which gun shop I bought it from. But this information isn’t enough. Every cop in the station wants an explanation as if I owe them each one. Each cop is trying to trip me up and change my story.  This is another tactic they use in attempt to make you perjure yourself.  Lying to police is also currently a crime, so if one detail of your story is not said exactly the same to every single cop, they will they say you committed another crime. This is why remaining silent and exercising your Miranda rights until you have access to a phone or lawyer is such a popular and smart option.

I threaten to sue the airport and the state police for unlawful arrest and assault, but they don’t listen to me. After a few hours of waiting, I finally get to talk with someone who doesn’t just interrogate me like I am a terrorist. I am brought to the captain’s office, but they don’t give me back my shoes or socks. I go through the story for what seems like the hundredth time, and I am finally told why I am here and about the phone call. I explain Jane clearly misunderstood what was going on. They ask me more and more questions and I am honest about everything since I did nothing wrong. They then ask if I have ever had a psychologist. I am being honest, so I say yes. They ask if I have ever been depressed before and I would surely be lying if I said no. Based on this information they figure they have enough to section eight me. At this point or long before, I should have called a lawyer and just remained silent until one showed up. I said several times “I want to talk to a lawyer.” But they didn’t listen. I later did call a lawyer when I had access to a phone, but she couldn’t help much due to ridiculous laws about detaining people that allow psychiatric wards to hospitalize people for ten days without a trial, as long as they are believed to be imminent threats to themselves or others.

The captain and his associate then tell me I can either go to prison or get a psychological evaluation. I tell them I did not commit a crime, but they explain bringing a gun to an airport is a crime, which it is not. But arguing with some real “tough guy” type cops who realized they made a major mistake by arresting me for no reason is a difficult task. They were already committed. They weren’t going to admit they messed up and Jane surely didn’t want to admit she called in a false report, because that is also a crime.

I was later told by a lawyer that it was illegal for the police to say I had committed a crime when I did not. Even if I had, it’s also not legal for a cop to give a “suspect” the “option” of going to jail or getting a psychiatric evaluation. I told them I’m not mentally unstable and that my depression has nothing to do with this. But they assure me it will only take an hour and that they will pay for my ticket and get me back on my plane to California by the end of the day. Since they are presenting this as the only way out, aside from prison, I reluctantly agree. (Again, this was another mistake. I would have been more adamant about my release and innocence, but at certain point through this humiliating experience I just began to feel hopeless.)

When I am escorted out, I see my bags being torn apart. Papers are strewn everywhere. I had brought drafts of What Controls Us and notes on it. I have no idea what they are looking for. They all have surgical gloves on and they look so serious. I don’t know what they were expecting. I want to tell them how foolish they look. They’re treating my writing like it might be coated with anthrax, cocaine, or explosives. I tell them they are personal papers and using anything written against me is a violation of my first amendment right to free speech. But they don’t seem to pay attention to me. (Eventually, this writing was used against me.)

The captain and his underling  put me in the back of their police car and they try to make friendly small talk on the way to a hospital, as if they’re not about to ruin my life. I sit calmly when we get to the hospital. We see a woman being rolled in screaming on a stretcher, quite understandably objecting to being restrained. I never found out what she did, if anything.

After another few hours of waiting, I am told I need my blood drawn. I ask why. The captain says “even if you’ve been partying and you have coke in your system (I did not), we can’t charge you for it.” The cop had no reason to believe I had coke in my system. I just wanted to know why they wanted my blood. Afterwards, I finally talk to a social worker. She seems reasonable. I tell her everything about how I got there: the misunderstanding and the arrest. She assures me I’ll be let out. Then, I am brought to a room with a man who is being held in protective custody (as I found out later I was in as well). He was admitted for allegedly beating his wife. He tells me he has a number of severe medical conditions, recent back surgeries, and severe bipolar disorder. I always want to help others, so I try to give him some advice. Even though my situation is terrible, I feel like I should at least give him the benefit of the doubt at first.

He insists he didn’t hit his wife, but I am skeptical. He also tells me he is certain that the hallucinations he sees are real and I try to question his beliefs, and ask him if he’s sure that they are not just internally created hallucinations.  He also has many prejudices and biases, which I try to address, but he doesn’t have much of a consistent ideology. He clearly has his problems, so I figure I likely won’t be able to help him.  It’s not really the time or place anyway. After a few hours of waiting, I realize we are under constant video surveillance, making me rethink my impromptu therapy session with this guy.

The super troopers are still talking to the social worker I talked with. I told them several times I would sue for wrongful arrest and assault. They surely wanted to cover themselves. My knowledge about mental health, neuroscience, and mental disorders was concerning to them. I think they knew I was right, but they had to stick me with something, and they got me on one piece of writing that was misinterpreted and taken out of context out of hundreds of pages of writing about human rights issues, CIA covert operations, and other material they misinterpreted. I talk to several security guards and nurses while waiting there about my story and they sympathize and agree I don’t belong there, but they tell me they aren’t allowed to make decisions about who leaves. But the social worker can.

I then try to talk to someone else who tells me I am “very sick.” I had never met this man in my life and he came to this conclusion based on what he had heard about me from the police. I then realize this place is insane and I may be stuck there for some time. I feel like my move to California is already ruined. Even if I get to California, I wonder how I will be able to make good impressions with everyone with this having happened.

I am already feeling hopeless and trapped. I call my parents to explain the situation, but unbeknownst to me Jane had already called my mother well in advance, right after she called the airport police. I was later told Jane told my mom the same story she told the police. My mom tried to get to the airport before I was arrested to find out exactly what was going on.

When I call my mom from the hospital she is hysterical. She had only heard from Jane and the cops. She didn’t know I had owned a gun and she is very anti-gun. She can’t seem to get passed the fact that I own a gun, and it is apparently more important to her than the abuse I had just been through. My dad is no more helpful. He says “You shouldn’t have had a gun” and hangs up.

I see the social worker again I talked to who seemed reasonable, but now she looks noticeably very different and concerned. It was like we hadn’t spoken hours earlier. She tells me very little, but based on what the police told her she says I need to stay the night. I did not expect this. I never found out exactly what the cops told her and I didn’t see her again. I went back to my hospital bed in disbelief, next to my bipolar, possibly violent roommate. Sleeping was only easy because I was so tired.

I woke up around 7 am. My mom and Jane show up around noon. My mom has this look of shock and disbelief on her face, as if I had killed someone. She was hardly helping. I try to reassure her. But I know Jane was responsible for all of this, so I was angry. It was like my mom trusted everyone else around her more than her own son. I ask her several times without an answer, “You realize it’s legal to fly with a checked firearm, right?” Jane says “Well, we know that now.”

My mother just can’t wrap her brain around why I would bring a gun to an airport, which is understandable I suppose, because TSA is so insane and strict. But it had to come with me, because I didn’t have the time to sell it and I wasn’t going to just leave it at my parents’ house as going-away gift. I didn’t really have anyone to give it to, and I had no obligation to do that. I think most gun owners would agree with me. Being able to move with all of our possessions ought to be a fundamental right.

I try to convince my mom to get me out of here and to talk to the doctors, (she could’ve managed that since she is a practicing family doctor herself) but she’s too upset. She only stays for a few minutes. When I call her cell phone from the hospital landline, Jane picks up and claims she can’t put her on the phone. I am left alone again. My roommate has left. He was transferred somewhere else or released. Then, it was my turn.

I am told I need to be “evaluated somewhere else.” I didn’t know where they intended on taking me.  Some medical technicians then come to pick me up, and they have a gurney with straps attached. I can’t believe it’s for me. I tell them they must know this is ridiculous, and that I’m not a threat. They tell me they understand, but insist it is standard procedure to be strapped to a gurney in transit, like the woman I saw come in the day before. Most of the nurses and security guards look empathetic as I get on the gurney. They realized how ridiculous, unnecessary, and humiliating this all was. I tried to keep my pride intact, but it had nearly emptied out of me.

I am loaded onto an ambulance in the gurney and we take about a half hour drive to another hospital, Our Lady of Fatima at 200 High Service Avenue in North Providence. Still strapped to the gurney, I am loaded into the elevator and brought to one of the upper floors of the building: the psychiatric ward. It dawns on me that I might be there for a long time. I knew most mental health facilities are corrupt wrecks, but I had no idea what it was like to be stuck inside one firsthand. The technicians wheeling me around open a series of locked doors. I wasn’t let out of the gurney until we got to the nurses office and I waited to have my vital signs (heart rate and blood pressure) checked. I later learned that they do this with all patients, just about every two waking hours. I talk to a nurse there who is confused about why I was there because I certainly didn’t look disturbed and my story checked out.

I saw an older man there yelling about how they were keeping him there to make money. He committed himself and he had already been there for two weeks, but they wouldn’t let him out. He was threatening to call his lawyer and they were treating him with very little respect. I certainly felt for him and I wanted to talk with him, but I only got to share a few words with him.

After my vital signs were checked, I was told I had to sign some legal documents.  These were mostly consent forms for different things like release of confidential information (i.e. who was allowed to know I was there and so on). There was no bubble option I could choose on any of the forms that read “Get me the fuck out of here” or would, which was what I was looking for. I read it all carefully, as I usually do with legal documents, and I check with the nurses at least dozen times to make sure I am not signing my life away. They confirm. They already owned me, and I was admitted on another emergency involuntary application. (I never saw the first one.)

I was led to my room along a long corridor. The psychiatric ward of the hospital is made up of just two long corridors that intersect and make a cross or + shape. The dining room is one of only two shared rooms. The other is the TV room: a room with a few worn down couches and a TV in a locked glass divider with no remote. All of the patients sleep in identical dorms.

I sat on my bed and looked out the window. Fortunately, I had no roommate this time. I couldn’t see the street, just other parts of the hospital building and the lower roof. I checked to see if the windows would open, but they were locked shut. So I just sat on my bed for a few hours trying to process this once again. I wasn’t able to see a doctor yet since the nurses told me he was “out for the day.” I had already slept in a hospital for a night and been transferred to another and I still hadn’t seen an actual doctor, only social workers, nurses, and security guards. That is apparently all these places need to “function.” Legally, they can hold you for 24 hours without the approval of a doctor if they think you are a threat.

At that point, I almost didn’t care. I figured my move to California was ruined and I may be stuck there for weeks or months. It felt like prison, but with far more medication. I took Prozac and Klonopin at the time, so I was given that daily, but I was also encouraged to take other drugs, including a sedative to help me sleep and an antipsychotic, olanzapine. Their unprompted offer of sedatives and anti-psychotics was concerning. I declined. But I was told I would be let out sooner if I took the pills. So I pretended to take them.

The next morning I finally saw a doctor, Dr. Todd H. Carranza who I could feasibly sue for malpractice. He wasn’t a nurse, social worker or security guard, but an actual doctor, which was initially relieving until I spoke with him. I told him anxiously how this was a big misunderstanding. He seemed reasonable and on the same page. I didn’t want to come across as too desperate or angry. I knew everything I was doing was being carefully watched. Any anxiety or impatience would be recorded somewhere in his files. I was certainly angry about being there, but I tried to express myself in a calm way because that’s a requirement in psychiatric wards. But about five minutes into our conversation he starts breaking down everything about the way I speak and sit. He says I sit too rigidly and I seem nervous. No kidding? I’m trying to prove my sanity so I can get out of this place. I say “Look where I am. Wouldn’t you feel the same way?”  He eventually agrees he believes this was a mistake.  But he also says he wants to sit down with Jane, my mother and I just to “straighten all of this out.” I ask if he knows it was mistake, why doesn’t he let me leave? He insists and says he has to go off to other patients to inform them they had to stay longer too.

I talk with some of the other patients at Fatima in my downtime. Most of them seem like fairly normal people with some personal issues. Almost none of them seem very disturbed or sick. Many had chronic pain though. One woman was there because all of her money was stolen and she became despondent as a result. She couldn’t move or eat. She just felt paralyzed until she was brought to Fatima. I tried to make her feel better and assured her that money comes and goes and that there are more important things in life. She seemed like a very good person, and we hugged when I left.

Another woman was there because she tried to kill herself after she found out her boyfriend was cheating on her. She was understandably angry and she didn’t really give me an opportunity to reach out to her. I don’t blame her, but I wish she had, even though my advice-giving ability at this point was pretty diminished. She stayed in bed most days.

One man there in his sixties or seventies was admitted because of pain and substance abuse problems. He had joint and back problems that gave him regular pain. He told me used to be a part of a biker gang and did a lot of drugs. But he was very soft-spoken and looked tired most of the time. He had a real kindness to him. Fatima had him on many painkillers, even though he had a history of abusing them, and I later found out many of the patients were also prescribed them.

Another patient I met later on told me he was a school teacher before he was admitted. He had noticeable social difficulties and he was brought there after a nervous breakdown. He was nice and he seemed to try hard to make a good impression and improve his life, but he couldn’t seem to pull it together. He would never allow himself to relax. I ask him if he is on any medications. He then gives me a list of medications he is prescribed. It was a three page list and I count 26 different medications, including very high doses of narcotics, antipsychotics and drugs intended to treat bipolar disorder like Lithium. Many were contraindicated and can be fatal in combination when taken in high doses. I told him this was malpractice and that he needed to talk with the doctors. I talked to the nurses and the doctor about this, and they started taking him off medications when they realized I was right. He had a tough time, as would be expected, but I think he started to turn around eventually. Withdrawal is always difficult.

Not everyone there was a victim. I met other people there who were less redeeming. One was a self-proclaimed Christian-Muslim with radical, dogmatic beliefs. I asked him politely if he knew of the violence between adherents of the two religions. He then told me about Zenu, the “12 trillion-year-old God” of Christianity-Islam. I thought to point out that the universe is only 13.7 billion years old, but then I realized I would probably be wasting my time trying to explain how we know this due to cosmic microwave background radiation. He refused to tell me why he was there and he was often confrontational.

Another man there told me he was admitted after butchering his neighbor’s dog with a machete. He almost never talked. When I ask him why he did it, he told me the dog was barking too much. I ask again, futilely, “You couldn’t have just asked the owner to quiet the dog?” He shrugs and doesn’t seem to like where this conversation is headed. I really just want to know what would compel him to chop up a poor dog just for barking. But we don’t talk again.

The next morning, my new doctor, my mom, and Jane have our meeting. When we sit down, I ask them both to tell the doctor I don’t belong here and that there was a misunderstanding. (I had talked with Jane previously and she said she would help me, even though she put me there in the first place.) Very unexpectedly, she starts to go off on a rant about how she was terrified for her life in the car with me, and that she always knew I “would wind up in a place like this.” I explain that she never indicated to me that she was “terrified” and that she lied when she said she was coming to help me. She starts mentioning my obsessive compulsive symptoms and the papers they found in the bag, as if they are relevant. I explain even if her fear was real, that doesn’t justify me being held there for no reason. She had an irrational fear, just as the doctor and cops had an irrational concern about me.

My mom seems to trust the doctor and this hospital more than I. Her eventual conclusion is that “We should do whatever the doctor feels is best.”  I can’t believe that she is not taking my side nor vehemently defending me. The doctor tells me he believes I have some undefined type of bipolar disorder, which is extremely vague and erroneous. My mother at least says I am not bipolar. Living with me, she at least knows that.

The doctor then tells me that while I am not required to take an anti-psychotic, if I don’t take one I will be held there longer. He has seen no psychosis from me whatsoever nor had anyone else there. He tells me the earliest I could leave is Monday, which means I had to stay for at least four more days. I realize my cousin will be nearly gone by then and I feel devastated. (He had a plane ticket for Switzerland he bought months ago and was planning to travel Europe.) On her way out, Jane says “I have my rights too.” She has her rights. I was on the one locked up. I go back to my room, feeling inescapable hopelessness, and I just sit on my bed for hours thinking about very little, trying to forget where I am, and I fall asleep.

The next morning I get my medication. I am prescribed a heavy dose of Olanzapine or Zyprexa that I read extensively about and its host of extremely serious side-effects. “Doctor” Carranza also gives me a script for the medication with four refills. I tell the nurse handing it out I can take it later, but she insists I have to take it in front of her. (So much for consent.) I put the pill in my mouth and slip it under my tongue and swallow while keeping the pill under my tongue. Apparently, I wasn’t the first person to try this. She tells me to lift my tongue. I reposition the pill over my tongue and lift it. She’s satisfied, so I go back to my room and spit the pill out.

The next morning I awake to find I have a roommate now. He’s an older, large man, probably in his seventies. He was transferred from a nursing home. He tells me he is bipolar and he committed himself voluntarily. He opens up to me about his hallucinations, dark impulses, and he eventually tells me how miserable he feels. He starts to tear up, but I just don’t know what to tell him. I feel miserable too, and my situation was so different that I didn’t think I could offer him anything, except sympathy.

The days pass by incredibly slowly. I try to help other patients (inmates) with their problems and get my mind off my situation, but it’s hard. I am filled with anger and overwhelming depression all of the time, and I have no place to vent it. I know how these places treat people who get angry. My fourth night in I see a newcomer in a padded room, screaming with security guards trying to restrain him. I feel like intervening physically, but I have my own troubles to worry about. So I watch and try to mediate verbally. Eventually, I go back to my room when they let him up some. Every night they try to feed me the same anti-psychotic. Every night I go through the same routine.

After six days in Fatima and I am finally released under the condition that I go straight to the airport, which I think is an insane requirement.  My mom picks me up and tells me I have a flight for 3:00 pm. I was so angry, but I keep it inside until we get to the car. I feel like she betrayed me. She tells me she was scared by what she was told about me when I was there. She trusted them. I tell her I need to go back home to get some things.

I try to vent at my house, but my plane is coming in ninety or so minutes, and I find myself feeling déjà vu, except this time I am definitely getting to California. But when I get to the airport by taxi, (I wasn’t taking any chances this time) it all felt wrong. I sat in the terminal and called my cousin, not sure what to do. It wasn’t supposed to happen like this. I was supposed to be excited about this, but I wasn’t. I had just been through the second hardest experience of my life. There is nothing worse in this world than being controlled and confined and having your experience be so limited by the parameters and rules of some correctional or psychiatric institution. The experience eventually gave me symptoms of PTSD.

I was still angry, confused, and not at all ready for California. But I got on the plane anyway.  I tried to get my mind off my situation by making small-talk with the woman seated next to me. But it didn’t help much. My cousin Ryan who is a nice guy wasn’t very excited about me being there, understandably so. He could tell I had gone through something awful, but he didn’t want to deal with it. He did his best, but his plate was pretty full. It wasn’t his experience after all. I tried to play it off like I was okay, but I was far from it. I was a wreck inside.

I try to be nice to Ryan’s friends, but I take a good deal of liberties and I stress everything. I need a lot of emotional support, but I am really just surrounded by strangers, for the most part. One person in particular was especially kind, and I am grateful for that. But I expected too much of my cousin, (who in his defense did help me in other ways while I was there like give me rides to apartments) and he left for Switzerland after I had been there one week.

I try to connect with my cousin’s friends, but nothing sticks, and I end up stuck in a motel. The Motel 6 I stayed in cost about fifty bucks a night. I stayed there for two weeks. Then, I found an even cheaper place, the Costa Mesa Motor Inn. It was a rat-hole, truly. There is an organization there that (admirably) helps house people temporarily and some of the occupants there were ex-convicts and drug addicts. Many there were just strapped for cash and living there temporally like I was. However, this combination of folks didn’t always mesh well. Fights when on. Cops showed up frequently. Some people there shot up heroin on the lawns. Some did meth. Everyday when I left the motel, I would pass syringes and balloons discarded all over the place. I had a room next to a few people addicted to meth. I stayed at this motel, and tried to get a job nearby, but to no avail. I eventually ran out of money, and my depression had reached a maxim.

This whole experience changed me permanently. I became much more determined to help people with mental disorders and to stop corruption in hospitals and police departments. Involuntary hospitalization can happen to anyone, regardless of innocence or mental state, and it needs to end. The police can make it happen in an instant with their own subjective judgments. This happens all the time. Homeless people are brought to mental hospitals or jails for the supposed “crime” of homelessness. Mental hospitals really function to serve a profit, so they don’t care, by and large, if patients don’t actually belong there or if they’re getting help. The longer they stay, the more money the hospital makes, and they decide when people leave. It doesn’t matter if they’re mentally unhealthy or not. They can be perfectly healthy, but held potentially indefinitely to make more money.

I still have not received any compensation for that experience from the Rhode Island state police, Jane, or from the two hospitals I was in. I was left, however, with a very large (four digit) hospital bill, and my gun was illegally confiscated by the RI State Police. I am just one person though. This type of story is unfortunately typical and common among those who are police targets. The scariest part of this story is that it could have been a lot worse. I am lucky not be another dead victim of police brutality. And I will always work to stop the brutality, unjust incarceration and hospitalization.

The silver lining to this story is that I reconnected with my sister at the end of it. We had lost contact for over two years, because of an argument we had before she left for UT Austin. She helped me through this experience more than anyone else, and I don’t know if I would be here today without her help.


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