Philadelphia, April 28, 2014- A U.S military combat veteran, Emily Yates, was attending a ‘No war with Syria’ rally in Philadelphia when she was violently arrested by Federal Parks Services rangers for simply asking why she was being told to move.
It was a hot summer day, so Yates along with many others had stood under some trees to get a reprieve from the heat. It was at this point that she was approached by the Federal Parks rangers and told that she needed to move as they began to erect barricades around her. As you can clearly see in the video Yates simply asks why she needs to move, not understanding the reason for being told to move.
As she continued to inquire as to why she needed to move, the rangers told her it was classified and that she simply had to move because they said so. This was the point at which the Parks Services rangers became very authoritative demanding she leave the area. Yates continues to inquire as to why she is being told she must leave the area not understanding why she was being forced to vacate the vicinity.
It was at this point where the Federal Parks rangers, without explanation and unexpectedly, began to violently arrest Yates. She had her back turned to Parks Services rangers, when they grabbed her wrists, bent her over a park bench, picked her up by her arms and legs and dragged her away to a separate area away from the crowd, dropping her on the ground face first.
In an interview with BenSwann.com, Yates states, “As military we are told we are fighting for freedom, civil liberties, and the Constitution, but we come home and are beaten black and blue and thrown in jail for exercising these rights.”
This violent episode triggered her PTSD from traumas that she had experienced in her active combat duty while serving in the military. She was taken to the Philly Federal Detention Center, where she was held for 3 days without being allowed a phone call, was never told what she was arrested for and never read her rights. In addition, she was refused access to the prison psychologist for 2 ½ days.
She was subsequently charged with arbitrary trespass, resisting arrest and assaulting an officer. Her attorney explained to the prosecutor that Yates was now suffering from PTSD, brought on by her experience as a combat veteran and the emotional trauma suffered from being forcefully grabbed from behind and the ensuing actions of the rangers.
He requested that she have her case be resolved in a Veterans Treatment Court so that here experience as a combat veteran would be taken into consideration in regards to her reaction to being forcefully assaulted from behind. The prosecutor has refused this request.
This is troubling due to the fact that the prosecutors own boss, Attorney General Eric Holder, has personally championed and extolled the virtues of the Veterans Treatment Courts:
“Since its inception just over two years ago, this Veterans Treatment Court has shown tremendous promise in helping eligible men and women to break the destructive cycle of criminality and incarceration that traps too many people and weakens too many communities across America… For President Obama – and for me – strengthening programs like this one, and building on work that’s underway in similar diversion and reentry programs throughout the nation, has always been a top priority.”
So why is AG Holder’s Justice Department disregarding his public support for combat veterans who have risked their lives in service to the United States? The DOJ encourages Veterans Treatment Courts as a rehabilitation model for PTSD and military trauma related cases against veterans and yet they refuse to allow Yates to participate. If AG Holder truly wants to support the veterans, he should insist that Yates case be allowed to be resolved in a Veterans Treatment Court.
If you want to support Emily Yates’ case being resolved in a Veterans Treatment Court, sign and share this petition.
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