Sunday, March 31, 2013

The Mentally Ill As Witnesses: Brunswick, GA

UPDATE - BREAKING NEWS! This is probably another case of "the black men did it" lie.
Congratulations to law enforcement for taking gunpowder residue from the murdered baby's mom and her man, who was recently arrested for throwing furniture and accusing his baby's mother of murdering the child.

Original article starts below:

On March 21, 2013, a 13-month-old baby boy was killed in Brunswick, Georgia. Sherri West, the child's mother, reported that two black youths attempted to rob her during her morning stroll with her baby. West alleges that she was shot in her right thigh and her son was killed in retaliation because she had no money. A Glynn County grand jury indicted De’Marquise Kareem Elkins, 17, and Dominique Demetrius Lang, 14, regarding Antonio Santiago's murder and other charges related to the baby's death. West reportedly identified the teens from photos.

Police also arrested the accused teens' mother and aunt and followed a lead to find a gun in a lake. Ballistics from the gun will be compared to the bullet that shot the baby. The news report regarding recovery of the gun did not disclose who provided information as to where the gun was. The indictment says that on March 22, Katrina Elkins provided a false alibi for Elkins by reporting he was at her residence during the shooting. The indictment also accuses Karimah Elkins of providing a false alibi for her son, as she told police he was with her during the shooting.

“We arrested them [the teen defendants' mother and aunt, who are siblings] last night and brought them back to headquarters, where we afforded them the opportunity to make additional statements,” Doering told the AP on Tuesday [March 26]. “They did, and that information led us to other witnesses … (who) led us to an area where the gun was disposed of.”

West also had two other children: a daughter and son. Her son died by stabbing in an altercation with another teen in New Jersey when he was 18. West's daughter, Ashley Glassey, was removed from her mother's custody at eight years of age, but she speaks with her mom regularly by phone. Glassey questions her mother's story about the baby's death.  See an excerpt from the ABC report.

Daughter of Brunswick victim questions her mothers story 
Glassey says her mother is bipolar and has schizophrenic tendencies. Glassey said she started to have her doubts after receiving a phone call from her mother telling her that her brother, Antonio Santiago, had been killed. She claims that on the night of the shooting her mother asked, "How soon do you think life insurance policy will send me a check?" Glassey said she has contacted the Brunswick Police Department and no one has called her back.

What amount of credence should police and courts give testimony by mentally ill witnesses? Glynn County is where Yvonne Hickman, a black woman, was arrested and banned from her home and county on the word of her mentally ill husband, a 100% disabled PTSD veteran, who falsely reported that Yvonne ran over him repeatedly with her car. The car was not damaged, and Mr. Hickman had no injuries. He continued working out at the gym daily after making this claim, but his wife was incarcerated and banned from her home. See videos about Yvonne's ordeal at 
Criminal charges against Yvonne Hickman were dropped three years later. In her lawsuit against Glynn County officials, which was dismissed without trial, Yvonne alleged that officials committed fraud, and she submitted documents to prove it (legal documents bearing what was passed as Yvonne's signature that she denies having signed).

Should people be arrested and banned like Yvonne Hickman was, or prosecuted like the two black teen suspects in baby Antonio's murder are, purely on the word of a mentally ill witness? The Bible says no. "In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every matter be established" 
(2 Corinthians 13:1).

The 59-year-old commissioner was charged with influencing a witness and obstructing law enforcement in an investigation, the Glynn County Sheriff's Office said. Brooks was arrested Thursday, posted $5,000 bond and left jail Friday afternoon. He simply told the defendants' mother and aunt they had the right to remain silent when being interrogated by police about the murder investigation.

Evidence may prove that Elkins and Lang are indeed guilty of attempted robbery and murder. If so, the teens absolutely should be imprisoned (the district attorney has announced he will not seek the death penalty). But all defendants deserve the presumption of innocence until proved guilty in a court of law unless they confess and forego trial. There is apparently no forensic evidence tying the black teens to Antonio's murder. There was no claim that the gun retrieved matches ballistics of the bullet fired into Antonio. West, a mentally disturbed woman, was the only witness to her baby's murder, just as Nathaniel Hickman was the only witness to being savagely run over repeatedly by his wife in a car, from which he miraculously emerged unscratched. 

Mr. Hickman, pictured above, never sought medical attention for being run over by his wife's car and continued to make regular trips to the gym. Nevertheless, Yvonne Hickman was arrested and banned from Brunswick, Georgia. Mr. Hickman underwent foreclosure, as he relied on his wife to handle the finances. He is currently homeless, and the couple's home in a predominately Caucasian community was repossessed by the bank. Ms. Hickman continues to seek justice in court regarding the destruction of her marriage, her arrest and enforced removal from her home, and related issues. How much credence can the justice system give testimony by mentally ill witnesses?

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Bipolar Crisis on Atlanta MARTA Train

This article is re-published from my strand of articles at Sometimes videos are un-published at YouTube by the person who posted it or others. That happened to the video I originally published of Solja-Girl's bipolar rant on the MARTA train in Atlanta. It is important for the public to witness the loss of control that some people who suffer from bipolar disorder or schizophrenia have during crisis incidents, because individuals from the public may one day serve on jury duty for a mentally ill defendant. By the time mentally ill defendants actually go to court for offenses that arose out of their illness, they have usually undergone psychiatric treatment and appear completely "normal." Therefore, insanity defenses are ordinarily disregarded by an uninformed jury. Please read the article, view the videos, and listen to the NPR radio interview in the "Bipolar Crisis on Atlanta MARTA Train." See also my other human rights articles at this link:  The video is presently published at YouTube link and embedded below, but it was cut at the end. Please forgive the title. I did not post it.

[2013 Note:  The U.S. Department of Justice (USDOJ) certified assisted outpatient treatment (AOT) programs in 2012, which provide mandated psychiatric treatment and subsistence assistance for the mentally ill. AOT programs restore people to wholesome living. In March 2013, it was announced that the Veterans Administration (VA) is hiring additional mental health care providers. Steps are being taken to give Assistance to the Incarcerated Mentally Ill and to prevent more sick people from being incarcerated or injured or causing harm. The USDOJ is also conducting meetings to discuss ways in which to address mental health care in the country in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shootings of 26 elementary school students, teachers, and administrators. Sometimes horrible tragedies bring about positive change.]


Enforced Treatment vs. Prison for Acute Mental Patients and Updates, by Mary Neal

Who's child is this? It is not often that the public gets to see the loss of control that mental patients sometimes suffer. The full video is at this link for now. I find that most of the videos on YouTube are edited to omit the last scene or they are mock music videos

[The prison industry does not want Americans to see a real bipolar crisis for fear that you will want to give Assistance to the Incarcerated Mentally Ill once the public realizes that sick people have little to no control over their actions when in crisis.]

The unfortunate girl in this video is obviously disturbed, just as the caption says. People like this child illustrate the reason for my advocacy for the 1.25 million mentally disabled PRISONERS in America who should have better options for inpatient care, and mandates for continuous outpatient treatment upon release from hospitals. Across America, mental hospitals are closing. This child does not belong in jail, but that is probably where she is now or soon will be, because homelessness, jail, and death are this country's current answers to mental illness.

Many schizophrenic and bi-polar persons, as well as people suffering post traumatic stress disorder and other mental dysfunctions, may experience intense psychotic episodes if not receiving treatment. Sometimes, their psychosis results in self-inflicted injuries and suicides and murders of innocent people. Most often, however, the mentally ill do not actually harm anyone, but imagine the trauma to these people -- the anguish they must feel!

It takes no special training in psychiatry or psychology to see that the young lady in this video suffers from extreme paranoia. She feels threatened by a fellow passenger on the train, an elderly woman. Later, the girl accused another passenger of being someone who raped her. Perhaps the child really has been raped by someone in her past -- some people take advantage of the mentally ill, many of whom wander in our society vulnerable and unprotected. See

Why does America keep closing its mental institutions? This trend has resulted in our current overcrowded prison conditions and put a tremendous and unnecessary burden on our criminal justice system. Do you believe the child in this video needs rehabilitation, or treatment? Do you believe that if someone asks her if she would like to accept mental health treatment that she would agree to same? From years of visiting the mental asylum where my schizophrenic brother was, I can assure you of one fact: Many, if not most, acutely mentally ill persons do not acknowledge, believe, or accept that they are sick, especially not during a psychotic episode.

Could it be that mental institutions are closing and the barriers to mental health treatment are allowed in order to deliberately increase prison populations for the sake of owners and stockholders of private prisons? Certainly, this would be too cruel to imagine. Consider the article by Dr. Posner, link below:

Original Content at

September 9, 2007
Your Children and Friends are Dying in Prison--here's whyby Moss David Posner, M.D. -- I was a physician with the California Department of Corrections for almost five years, before I was forced out. I’m putting my burden down now. I’m out of the picture, but I want to say a few things to you.I believe it is UNFAIR to ask a person who is obviously delusional if she WANTS mental health services. This decision should not be hers to make. I believe it is unfair to punish a person in this mental state for anything she does wrong - she would obviously be not guilty for reason of insanity. If police had stormed the train, would they have thought the paper in the girl's hand was a knife and possibly shot her? Suppose the child also has a heart condition. If she is ever Tasered for erratic behavior, would that kill her? How often are taxpayers asked to bear the burden of lawsuits for wrongful death of mentally ill persons who died in restraint chairs, by Taser, or as a result of possible excessive force by police officers? Would it not be much more reasonable to increase the availability of mental health services -- inpatient and outpatient -- and to relax the barriers to mental health care for those who may not recognize their own need for treatment?

Many law officers would like to get back to fighting crime and cease from being the nation's psychiatric caretakers. Let us please join together to see that we offer better than homelessness, jail, and death to our mentally disable citizens

http://www.surveymo s.aspx?sm= eBWphMwXQnxAi6m_ 2bLKqUEw_ 3d_3d People who are currently imprisoned for exhibiting such behavior are convicted for breaking laws such as the girl in the video may have committed: disturbing the peace, public nuisance, perhaps assault on the elderly commuter. So mental health organizations that object to enforced hospitalization unless someone has proven to be a danger to himself or others (meaning smoking guns and dripping knives) should have NOTHING TO SAY when mentally ill prisoners, who have already forfeited their right to freedom and self-determination, are hospitalized instead of serving prison terms that can do nothing to rehabilitate them. Neither can sick people be punished into a state of mental health.

Below is a link to a HealthTalk interview with William B. Lawson, M.D., Ph.D., Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at Howard University College of Medicine. Research shows African-Americans are more likely than other groups to feel stigmatized by mental illness. Listen as Dr. Lawson answers questions posed by mental health experts and African-American community leaders as they examine how to promote change.

African-Americans and the Stigma of Mental Illness
Listen to the replay

Who's child is depicted in the video? She's all of ours. Let us work together to help her and those like her to get the treatment they need, not prison! Not Tasered to death during an arrest attempt! Not left in a cold prison cell, naked to prevent suicide! Not strapped to a restraint chair, which kills mental patients in jails with regularity! Let us use a more sane, humane approach to address acute mental illness among our citizens. Jail or hospitalization? You decide.


I first wrote a week ago about a young lady who appeared to be in the grips of a psychotic episode, which was captured on film. The video was moved to You Tube, where it was very widely viewed. Many of the people commenting on the video on You Tube were very critical of the young woman, who her family reports is bi-polar and off her medications. Even acutely mentally ill persons now have the right to decide whether or not to accept treatment for their conditions, and unfortunately, the young lady is like many persons who are too ill to make wise decisions in this area. Therefore, she has now joined the 1.25 million mental patients in our criminal justice system.

Rather than enforcing treatment, which makes sense to me, the State now has the duty to incarcerate Nafiza Ziyad, provide her an attorney (if she cannot afford an attorney and requests one), hold expensive court hearings and/or a trial, and perhaps then incarcerate her for the length of her sentence. The expense her arrest creates for taxpayers, Nafiza's trauma during incarceration, and much stress to her family could and should have been avoided IF ONLY we had sensible laws in our country giving families the right to dictate psychiatric treatment for mentally ill family members BEFORE mental patients prove themselves to be a danger to self and others.

Nafiza has now joined the 1.25 million mentally ill people who are already imprisoned in our great country, which fights for human rights around the world. Please pray with me that she does not come to harm. Each year, mental patients are Tasered or placed in Restraint Chairs in jails and prisons across our country, killing some. When prisoners die under these circumstances, taxpayers are often required to bear the additional burden of paying lawsuits brought by families who were essentially denied the opportunity to save their loved ones by enforcing psychiatric treatment.

If I could afford it, I would like to track Nafiza's as she progresses through the legal system and record the emotional and mental stress she undergoes as a mental patient criminalized for her disability. I would like to be able to report to you how long it takes for her to be assessed for her mental condition and prescribed any medications she may need. (Some mental patients are kept behind bars for months without psychiatric assessment and treatment, although this may not happen to Nafiza, especially since we are sharing the information.) For the sake of those who have little or no consideration for Nafiza and her family who are very worried and suffering tonight, I would also like to track the expense that Nafiza's criminalization causes taxpayers in Georgia for her arrest, incarceration pending trial, attorney fees, hearing(s), trial, and further incarceration, if she is sentenced to serve time. It would be interesting to compare the expense of this exercise (criminalizing Nafiza's mental illness) to the possible expense that her enforced psychiatric treatment would have entailed.

People with Nafiza's health problems do not usually vote, so please take the survey above and register your opinion about criminalizing mental illness. Participants' identities are protected by the survey company, and even I will not have contact data for you unless you choose to enter it onto one of the fields in the survey. Also, consider working together with me to fund Assistance to the Incarcerated Mentally Ill ("AIMI") so that we can be better prepared to gather and report data to bring an end to such injustice and unnecessary expenditure of taxpayer dollars.

It appears to me that the only people who really stand to gain by the continuation of withholding treatment to our nation's mental patients unless/until they prove to be a danger to selves and others are possibly those who invest in private prisons.

Here is a link to the news story regarding Nafiza’s arrest:
YouTube video leads to MARTA arrest
Young woman shown pitching a fit, threatening elderly woman on train
By Ariel Hart
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution - Published: 05/13/08
MARTA officials said they have arrested Nafiza Ziyad, 25, as the result of an online video in which a young woman appears to be threatening an elderly woman on a MARTA train. The video, posted on YouTube two weeks ago, has drawn more than 7,000 comments on the site and been viewed 600,000 times.
UPDATE 5-14-08 -- TELEVISED INTERVIEW with Nafiza Ziyad's mother. Mom said her daughter suffers extreme depression and bi-polar disorder, but will not take her meds because she does not want to acknowedge her mental health problems. See link below:


UPDATE 7-17-08

~~~Nafiza Ziyad was released from DeKalb County Jail on May 30, which was 22 days following her arrest. Nafiza now lives in a personal care home for the mentally ill. Her court-appointed attorney, Derek Gage, said Ziyad will be monitored in the care home to ensure that she stays on her medication. This is good news.

Nafiza’s brother apologized on You Tube for his sister’s outburst on the MARTA train. More than 90,000 people have viewed the video below wherein Nafiza’s brother issued a sincere apology to the elderly passenger his sister verbally assaulted during her bi-polar crisis, and he explained Nafiza’s condition to the public. He asked the public to refrain from making fun of his sister and holding her accountable for her disability. He requested prayers for Nafiza and his family. Select the link below to see his video:

Unfortunately, millions of people actually found amusement in Nafiza’s bi-polar disorder, and they responded by making music videos depicting her loss of control. In fact, You Tube has been inundated with video submissions presenting musical re‑mixes of Nafiza’s bi‑polar episode. The public has dubbed Nafiza “Soulja Girl” and proceeded to re-enact her train crisis in one-woman plays; mini musicals with dancing train passengers; and cartoons, including Bart Simpson presentations. The original video of Nafiza’s crisis has been viewed almost 3 million times. Several of the reenactments have received over 200,000 hits, which illustrates the public’s willingness to be entertained by mental illness. Below is one such video, a despicable, yet very popular, presentation wherein Nafiza’s crisis was set to music:

When it comes to mental illness, not only do many people find it socially acceptable to ridicule the victims of the disorder and their families, but violence toward the mentally ill is also apparently permissible. After MARTA officials were made aware of Nafiza’s bi‑polar crisis, she was immediately tracked down and arrested for her public display of bi-polar disorder. But apparently, the man who physically assaulted Nafiza on the train was not held accountable for his violent reaction to her illness. Even some police officers participate in and excuse violence against people who are considered mentally ill or otherwise socially deviant. See a videotape of police abuse against a detainee who fails to meet society standards of “normal” at the link below.

Many physically disabled or disfigured people know what it is like to be the brunt of jokes and other acts of cruelty. This happens especially to disabled or disfigured children, whose peers may not yet grasp the pain they inflict on their less fortunate classmates with physical impairments. By the time most children grow up, however, they no longer find hilarity in another person’s limp or facial scar. No rational adult laughs when she sees a person in a wheelchair. Regarding mental illness, however, it is apparently considered socially acceptable to ridicule persons like Nafiza.

Surprisingly, many people are willing to blame the mentally ill for being sick in the first place, perhaps including Nafiza’s attorney. The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that Mr. Gage said of Nafiza, "She's doing very well. She's obviously extremely embarrassed about the fact that this video was so widely seen by so many people. But I think it's also kind of become a stimulus for her to take a little more responsibility in her life.”
It would appear that Mr. Gage is saying that the humiliation that Nafiza and her family presently endure with millions of people witnessing and laughing about her illness has been good for Nafiza. What would make anyone believe that someone who is already mentally disturbed is actually helped by undergoing the kind of negative notoriety that Nafiza has to endure? That notion is ridiculous in the extreme.

The public’s attitude appears to be that Nafiza got what she deserved for daring to have a bi‑polar crisis in public. I protest the erroneous presumption that if mentally ill people like Nafiza and my brother were sufficiently punished for their conditions, they would improve themselves. This dangerous notion is likely why my brother is dead today, and is behind the deaths of many other mental patients who perished in restraint chairs, by Taser guns, or are presently locked away in our nation’s prisons. Mentally ill people do not need self-improvement lessons – they need and deserve our care and protection. I would like for Mr. Gage and others who share his opinion to know that mentally ill people like his client are not to blame for their disabilities, but rather, blame the mental health laws that withhold treatment from patients who are too sick to recognize they need psychiatric care.

NEWSFLASH: It’s the SYSTEM that is crazy. No one enforced Nafiza’s psychiatric treatment until now, and the enforced treatment is likely to end as soon as she leaves the personal care home where she was ordered instead of prison. Fortunately, it was rolled paper in Nafiza’s hand and not a knife that could be used to stab the elderly commuter. If this had occurred, the District Attorney’s office might not be willing to forego pursuing maximum charges against Nafiza for her crime. Maximum sentencing for mentally ill persons is quite the norm in America. Thank God the system is showing signs of improvement.

Fortunately, with the U.S. Senate voting overwhelmingly in favor of the Medicare Mental Health Parity Bill (H.R. 6331) on July 9, it would appear that some of the barriers to treatment are beginning to crumble. Another exciting development is USA Today’s report that the number of accused felons found incompetent to stand trial has increased by 50% within the past year in 10 of America's largest states. With judges refusing to hold mentally ill citizens criminally responsible for their actions, states are forced to find feasible alternatives to using jails and prisons to warehouse mentally ill citizens. Additionally, some state legislatures have relaxed involuntary commitment standards somewhat, allowing easier access to psychiatric treatment for those who need it but will not willingly submit to same. There is still much work to be done to decriminalize mental illness, remove barriers to treatment, and destroy the stigma attached to disorders of the mind. However, much progress is being made by our judiciary and our elected officials.

The problem is that judges and elected officials can only change the laws and release necessary funding to treat the mentally ill. They cannot legislate public attitude. There is such a negative stigma attached to mental illness, particularly among African Americans, that everyone should understand why many acute mental patients deny their illness.

Remember when it was taboo to discuss domestic violence issues or admit to being a victim of child abuse, incest, or spousal abuse? After many people came forward and began to publicly disclose these occurrences, much of the stigma attached thereto was removed, and victims of abuse more often seek legal recourse and assistance following these crimes than their counterparts did two decades ago. Hopefully, the stigma attached to mental illness will similarly decline as more families emulate Nafiza Ziyad’s family. They came forward and publicly declared their love and support for her, despite the fact that the families of severely mentally ill persons are usually stigmatized right along with their sick relatives. More families need to stand up and insist on fair, humane treatment for their loved ones. Positive change often requires sacrifice.
Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. ~1 John 3:18

Pssssssssssss -- Do something! Help the least of these, His brethren! Across the country mental hospitals are closing. Families have trouble getting help for loved ones who are in psychiatric need. As a result, more people who should be inpatients or living in their communities under mandated treatment provisions are suffering in jail. Show your concern for human rights by taking the survey and supporting AIMI.

Mary Neal, director of Assistance to the Incarcerated Mentally Ill

Continue reading at Enforced Treatment vs. Prison for Acute Mental Patients and Updates, by Mary Neal | NowPublic News Coverage

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Setting Oneself on Fire: Mental Illness

ISLAMABAD: A young man died after setting himself ablaze at D-Chowk, a few hundred yards away from the Parliament House, against police highhandedness, eyewitnesses of the shivering episode said.

The police said that the victim was identified as Fazl-e-Rabbi, 25, son of Sabir Hussain, resident of Warsak Road, Peshawar. The police were unaware about the reason of his self immolation as Fazl-e-Rabbi refused to record his dying declaration to the police and expressed his hate for the police. However, he told the Pims staff that police brutality was cause of his self-immolation.

“I feel comfortable to die rather to live in the fear of police torture,” the victim told the hospital staff before dying. The police confirmed the happening, saying that the victim was shifted to Burn Centre of the Pims hospital where he breathed his last. The police said that a young man in his twenties, carrying a gallon of kerosene, suddenly appeared in the Chowk, poured the oil on his body and set himself on fire. Watching the scene the people present there got stunned and nobody came forward to rescue him, as the flames were so intense that they couldn’t gather the courage to save him.
Louisiana, USA: Woman allegedly sets fire to herself and blames a hate group

October 2012 - A 20-year-old black woman said she was set on fire by three men who wrote the initials KKK and a racial slur on her car in northeastern Louisiana, police said Monday. Officers found Sharmeka Moffitt with burns on more than half of her body when they responded to her 911 call Sunday night, said Louisiana State Police spokeswoman Lt. Julie Lewis. The FBI is investigating the attack as a possible hate crime, but no arrests had been made as of late Monday, Lewis said. She said Moffitt was in critical condition at a hospital and that some of her injuries were third-degree burns.

Of course, when people are mentally ill in America and are suspected of crimes, especially minorities, they are tried for the worst possible offenses and get sentenced to long prison terms. Sharmeka was not merely charged with making a false police report, but terrorism.

March 2013 - The Winnsboro, Louisiana woman who is accused of making false claims was charged with terrorism
Sharmeka Moffitt, who police believe set herself on fire in a Winnsboro park in October after claiming she was attacked by Klansmen, faces two felony charges.

Istanbul man's death to avoid police repression

Louisiana Woman's Claim

The Mentally Ill Need Dog Justice

Saturday, March 9, 2013

$15.5 million for Dogged Out Mentally Ill Inmate

Steve Slevin before and after solitary confinement

A New Mexico man who spent nearly two years behind bars without trial will receive a $15.5-million settlement because a federal jury decided that his rights to adequate medical attention and due process had been violated.

During the time Stephen Slevin, 58, spent in solitary confinement at DoƱa Ana County Detention Center, his mental and physical health deteriorated so severely that he spent hours on end rocking back and forth beneath a blanket, his attorney told the Los Angeles Times. Slevin even wiggled a tooth loose so he could yank it out, Matt Coyte said.

“They treated him in a manner that was inhumane,” he said. “They treated him worse than an animal.”

Slevin's legal troubles began in August 2005, when he was arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated and driving a stolen car -- a vehicle he says he borrowed from a friend. Slevin also suffered from depression and alcoholism, Coyte said.

Finish reading the article at LA Times,0,3998308.story

The poor man reportedly begged jail employees for help but received none. Solitary confinement torture is known to cause mental illness in sane people and make mentally ill people much worse. Slevin told employees he was experiencing "panic attacks, shakes, and trouble sleeping." Imagine being jailed and refused trial. That happened to Slevin, and it could happen to many more Americans under NDAA, which allows indefinite detention in military concentration camps without any opportunity for defense. LA Times has a handy poll to vote whether you believe Slevin's judgment was fair. Do not vote whether it was fair for Slevin; vote whether YOU would want to be treated that way. If you don't have that much imagination, imagine your DOG being caged for two years straight, alone in a tight space, his whimpers ignored. I am happy for Slevin and hope he will fully recover from his ordeal. But I knew even before checking for his photograph that he was white. Caucasians usually get justice when their abuse is publicized.

Blacks who were represented by the late, great Johnnie Cochran usually experienced some measure of justice. For instance, Geronimo ji Jaga (Pratt) was exonerated after spending eight years in solitary confinement and 27years in prison on a murder conviction. He was awarded substantially less than Slevin for serving much more time - $4.5 million. LA Times reported: "Pratt always has insisted that he was in Oakland attending Black Panther Party meetings when the Olsens were attacked. Years later, retired FBI agent M. Wesley Swearingen said the bureau knew Pratt was in the Bay Area then because the Panthers were under surveillance and phones at their party headquarters were tapped." ji Jaga was represented in his quest to overturn the wrongful conviction by Johnnie Cochran and other attorneys.

Johnnie Cochran's reputation for successfully representing clients against corporate wrongdoing, police brutality, and prisoner abuse attracted the Neals to take the firm the Wrongful Death of Larry Neal case in 2003. (See Wrongful Death of Larry website ). However, my family was not aware when my mentally, physically disabled brother was murdered in Memphis Shelby County Jail that Johnnie Cochran had brain tumors and that the firm had essentially been sold to some racists who misuse his name and legacy to this very day. Google "Cochran Firm Fraud." 

Generally speaking, anyone can be arrested or brutalized by police officers at any time. The beating death of another Californian, Kelly Thomas, proved that. He was a 33-year-old mentally challenged Caucasian. March 15 is the International Day of Action Against Police Brutality. Everyone who is concerned about overuse of force incidents should participate, including honest law enforcement officers who tire of working in a volatile atmosphere because of a few bad cops. Without united action, one doubts if black men and other minorities or the mentally ill in America will ever have their human rights honored.

Congratulations to Steve Slevin, who is a free, wealthy man today. Let us pray that his mental faculties are fully restored.

Mentally ill Americans need Dog Justice

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Elvis Presley - Bipolar Genius

Many talented, famous individuals have mental health conditions that nevertheless did not stop them from making significant contributions to music, science, technology, governments, and other human advancements. After Elvis Presley died, he was evaluated and found to have been bipolar. I wrote about Elvis in 2008, on the anniversary of his death. He used to be my near neighbor when I lived in Memphis. Enjoy and share the article below, which has six links, two photographs, and a video of Elvis doing the "Jailhouse Rock." (Tip: Hit "control and the plus sign" at the top right on your keyboard TOGETHER, and the font size will increase according to your reading preferences.)

Elvis Presley's Sad Anniversary

Published in by duo | July 19, 2008 at 04:52 am
Read by 3,545

Elvis at Graceland
THAT ELVIS PRESLEY was some'um, as my grandma used to say.  I was living on Elvis Presley Boulevard on August 16, 1977, the day Elvis died.  I lived about a block from Graceland, as a matter of fact.  If you have ever been to the famous mansion, you know that the king's namesake is a  real wide thoroughfare - six lanes, I believe, with a turn lane in the center.  I was living it up in my very first apartment, an efficiency with a balcony overlooking the boulevard in apartments then called "Meadow Oaks."  I attended school during the day and worked all night at a GGJ (good government job).  Thanks to Elvis's death, I was late for work a couple of times, and had to ask for an extension on the time I had to turn in a class assignment.  (See Elvis's funeral video on third row, left.)
My excuse for being late was all the loyal fans congregating around Graceland for days after Elvis died.  Lots of them held tickets to the concert Elvis did not live to give.  Many of Elvis's fans never even tried to get a refund for their tickets, and I guess maybe those tickets are worth something now.  I tell you, folks were wandering around the area of the boulevard where Elvis's mansion is bawling their eyes out and stopping traffic.  One man must have been as inconvenienced by our out-of-town company as I was, because he just plowed into a crowd of 'em!  This was a tragic accident with injuries, but I can understand how it happened.  Traffic moved so very slow that it was easy to get bored and distracted.  I actually read while I inched along.
That August I really caught hell getting back and forth home -- even at 3:00 a.m. when I left work.  The traffic was incredibly, steadily congested within five miles of Graceland with a stream of cars inching to and from the mansion with license plates from all over the country.  Folks were actually sleeping on the grassy slope outside Graceland's fancy gates, having found no room at the inn, so to speak.  I was too naive to consider what my efficiency might have been worth as a one-week rental.  Boy, the opportunities of youth that we wish we had grasped!  Hindsight.

Anyhow, I had to park up to three miles from my apartment and walk through crowds of mourners crying and consoling each other.  I also felt bad about Elvis's death, and one evening I stopped and spent a some time with his other fans, having parked blocks away again.  It was like a wake out there, and I met people from all over the U.S. and abroad.  One family I met was from the UK.  I'm glad I stopped and spent time with them.  It turned out ot be a nice way to say goodbye to the legend that was Elvis.

Elvis Presley was a gifted vocalist with a colorful life story.  I was always impressed with the tale about Elvis buying a Cadillac for a black lady he did not even know .  Now, I don't know if the tale is true, but the story goes that one day Elvis was cruising about town in his famous pink Caddy, and he happened to pass by a Cadillac dealership in town where he noticed a black woman ogling the big, luxurious automobiles through the glass of the showroom floor.  Elvis reportedly stopped his Caddy and walked right into that dealership and bought the lady a car!  Truth or fiction, I don't know.

Elvis was some singer and dancer, alright.  I used to watch his movies on the 24" black and white television set my dad proudly purchased when I was a pre-schooler.  We were probably the first black family on our street to own a TV, and we had lots of problems with too much company for years afterward.  Yep, white people lived on my street, too.  We lived about 40 miles from Memphis in a very small town.  The fact is that complete segregation was never feasible in small towns in the South due to space restrictions.  I recently met some people from New York who told me that while growing up in Harlem, months would sometimes pass without their seeing any Caucasians.  My friend and co-worker at a firm in Decatur was from Washington State.  She told me that she was 18 years old before she went on her senior trip to Seattle and saw her first black person.  At the time, I found these accounts hard to believe.  In our little town, everyone knew everyone else, including most of their personal business and their ancestry.  Half the town were cousins to each other.  Despite Jim Crow and other silliness, there was a certain closeness, for lack of a better word, among the town's residents.  Maybe you would have to be from a small Southern town to really understand what I mean.  Do you think that for real fear and hatred to prevail in people's minds regarding another group of people, a certain amount of separatism is necessary?  Anyway, back to Elvis.

I liked Elvis's voice and have some of his music - a Christmas CD and another with Elvis's greatest hits, and I seldom miss a PBS's presentation of Elvis in concert.  But I promise you, by the end of the week he died and caused the worse traffic jam in Memphis history, if Elvis were not already dead I might have strangled him myself.  My schedule was tight in the 70's, you see.  I only had a few hours to snooze  after school each day before reporting to work at 6 o'clock in the evening.  So, besides being a tragic, unnecessary waste, Elvis's death was also a serious impediment to my rest.  It was no fun having to park and walk two miles to my apartment from a shopping center blocks away.

I had to look for alternate routes home.  I learned some back roads nearby that I never knew existed and might never have known, if only Elvis had said 'no' to drugs (see notes below).  Unfortunately, most of the back streets I tried were just circles and dead ends.  One afternoon I was determined to get all the way home in my little red VW Beetle, a semi-automatic cutie!  I was hot and tired, had no air conditioning in the bug, and I only had three hours before reporting to work.  Slow traffic was making me miserable, so I tried once again to find another route home and avoid the congestion on Elvis Presley.

The houses were quite lovely on the street I found myself traveling that day, with beautifully manicured lawns.  I had plenty of time to admire the homes, you see,  because it took about five minutes for me to pass each one.  Yes, apparently the out-of-town mourners had taken over that street, too.  Cars were double parked on both sides of the street, and I found myself moving very slowly toward a cross street where I hoped to finally get free!  Fortunately,  there was a small gap between two cars parked on my right, because coming toward me was a big Lincoln Continental, and it just kept on coming although there was barely room enough for my bug to navigate the narrow passage between the double parked cars.  I had to quickly back into the parking space to make room the Lincoln.

Do you want to know how really hurt Elvis's fans were by his untimely death?  Well, let me share with you what I saw that day.  As the driver of the Lincoln inched toward me, I noticed he was scrapping his beautiful car on both sides as he slowly rolled down the street.  Moreover, he was also scratching the sides of each and every mid-sized or large car that he passed!  (In case one of the cars was yours, no, I did not get his license number, but it was definitely an out-of-state tag.)  Thank God for my VW's compact size!  The driver was a heavyset, middle-aged guy, accompanied by folks who were likely his wife and two daughters.  Everyone in the car was crying as they scrapped along.

Elvis dominated the headlines and conversation around Memphis and the nation for a long time after his untimely death.  Even before Elvis's burial, I heard someone voice doubt about him really being dead.  Elvis was so large in his fan's eyes that some could not conceive of his dying.  Did you know someone tried to steal Elvis's body, which prompted the decision to lay Elvis to rest at Graceland?  I should have bought several copies of the Commercial Appeal.  They might have historical value today.

Goodbye, Elvis.  We still miss you.  Rest in peace.


Elvis Presley Was Diagnosed Post-Mortem as Suffering from Bi-Polar Disorder

Excerpt from a transcript of a interview with Vernon Chadwick, director  of the Fourth Annual Conference on Elvis Presley - August 11, 1998

A therapist from Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital in New Jersey advanced the thesis that Elvis suffered bipolar disorder, which is a more technical name for manic depression, and that Elvis' substance abuse, eating disorders, and chronic depression should be placed in the larger context of a personality disorder. We think that this will shed new light on the issue of Elvis' death and will take it out of the narrow context of suspected overdose and addiction to the larger and more fundamental issues of Elvis' childhood, family history, the cultural influences of the times in which he lived, and other factors which contributed to a possible personality disorder.


Elvis is an American icon.  There are few Americans who cannot sing along with Elvis' many top tunes.  This article serves to remind Americans that we share a common heritage which is as relevant to our identities as our individual cultures based on ancestral origins in pre-colonized America, Africa, Europe, or Asia.  I believe that prejudice can only be sustained and fear and hatred survive and grow in a separatist environment.  Social integration dissolves myths about people of other races, religions, and ethnicities.  Prejudice must be completely eradicated, and this can happen as we begin to focus more on our common heritage rather than divisiveness.

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.  Galatians 3:27-29


It is hard to imagine, but Elvis would have been 77 years old now.  We could have had years more to enjoy his melodic voice and watch women swoon at his gyrations on stage [perhaps if only he had sought help for depression and drug use] . . .   But alas, this was not to be, despite the many false sightings that occurred for years after Elvis was gone.



Many of America's 1.25 million mentally ill inmates have drug addictions. There is a tendency for some untreated persons to attempt to "get their heads on straight" with drugs and alcohol, which often leads to prosecution and criminal convictions. The National Association of Drug Court Professionals says that drug courts are the most effective justice strategy for addressing the drug addicted and mentally ill. Learn more about drug courts at this link


Great musicians, artists, scientists, and many plain Janes are currently incarcerated for behavior that arose from having a common, treatable health condition. Nonviolent mentally ill inmates should be released to community care and mandated to join an Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT) Program. Under an AOT, they would receive subsistence assistance if they qualify financially, plus mandatory psychiatric treatment. Providing for acute mental patients' basic needs and ongoing treatment upon release from correctional institutions and mental hospitals would get mentally ill people out of the revolving door to our jails and prisons and reduce homelessness and re-hospitalization by up to 85%, as proved by New York patients who were AOT participants. It would also increase community safety, save money currently budgeted for prisons and jails, restore families, and deliver many people to back to wholesome living. The United States Department of Justice certified AOT programs last year, and a number of states use them. Learn more about AOT programs at Treatment Advocacy Center's website


In 2009, Rep. Eddie Johnson (D-TX) introduced legislation to resume Medicaid insurance to cover the cost of inpatient psychiatric treatment for acute mental patients who had a crisis or those who require long-term commitment. Unfortunately, the bill (H.R.619) did not make it out of U.S. congressional committees. In fact, because mainstream news did not cover the bill, most Americans did not know we had before Congress an opportunity to decriminalize mental illness. The bill should be re-introduced in the U.S. Congress, and everybody should HELP to give Assistance to the Incarcerated Mentally Ill. Move mental illness back to the health care system and away from the prison system. Acute mental patients who require containment should be hospital inpatients, not prison inmates.
Continue reading my human rights advocacy articles at See a video of Elvis's funeral and access at the link below, and while at, see more of Mary Neal's human rights articles by clicking on the icon of the two dogs. 
Elvis Presley's Sad Anniversary | NowPublic News Coverage


Mary Neal
Assistance to the Incarcerated Mentally Ill

Dog Justice for the Mentally Ill