Glendale, CO

Glendale civil rights complaint lands me in mental hospital

David Heitz

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People must think, “Boy, he writes about mental hospitals a lot. How many mental hospitals has he been in?”

I’ve been in several in Colorado, but never prior to Colorado. I’ve been a patient in Denver Health, Centennial Peaks, Aurora hospital mental health and the state mental institution in Pueblo.

I have been a journalist more than 30 years and most always have held a good job. I never had a criminal record other than a DUI. Now, in Colorado, I have a resisting arrest conviction. It stems from Denver police assaulting me after I fell asleep along the bike path behind Salvation Army Crossroads homeless shelter.

I suffer from chronic-complex post-traumatic stress disorder due to several nightmarish events in my life during the past several years. I have been through a lot and become triggered easily sometimes.

I often do not feel safe. My house was shot up with me inside it in Rock Island, Ill. I also was assaulted inside a jail. This all occurred shortly after my dad died from a long dementia death. I served many years as his caregiver and it was hard work.

And I miss my dad very much.

I used to have nightmares until a pill called Prazosin halted them.

Did I really need to be hospitalized?

As I have explained before, I believe I have been put into mental hospitals as an effort to discredit some of my work. Let me tell you about the time Glendale police had me deemed a risk to myself a few years ago.

In Colorado, a police officer or mental health professional can declare you a danger to yourself or others and have you locked up in a mental hospital. And that’s just what Glendale police did to me when I called them to complain about a neighbor calling me a derogatory name.

They had me taken by ambulance to Denver Porter Adventist after I had called police about people across the street harassing me.

The officer who responded said he would be sending a mental health professional in a couple of hours. I thought this would mean talk therapy to help deal with being the victim of a crime. I did not expect to be psychologically evaluated for reporting a neighbor making civil rights slurs.

But that's exactly what happened. This mental health professional said, “I’m worried about you David,” offering no diagnosis. I was asleep with my dog on my lap when the police knocked; a cop told the mental health professional, “We found him on the floor.”

Judge releases me from mental hospital

The harassment by law enforcement began several years ago back in Illinois when I went to police about my friend Sam Davis’s lifeless body being pulled from the Mississippi River. Check out this report.

As it turned out, a judge let me out of the mental hospital. I am told it only happens in one out of every hundred cases.

An attorney showed up at the hospital and said, “You’re free to go, go to your bank and take care of your finances.”

I became homeless a short time later. The harassment was so bad where I lived that I abandoned the apartment and began to stay in hotels.

Until I ran out of money and was on the street.

Thanks to the state mental institution, I now have housing and am doing very well. I enjoy my work and live a very blessed life.

I needed mental health treatment, but not when I called to report a bigoted neighbor. Then I needed compassion and a police report.

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I have been in the news business more than 30 years, spending much of my career at some of the best newspapers in the country. Today, I specialize in Denver local news, health reporting, social justice issues, addiction/recovery/mental health news, and topics surrounding homelessness and human trafficking.

Denver, CO
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