Trial Set to Begin for Patients and Advocates Who Occupied One of 6 Mental Health Clinics Closed by Mayor Emanuel

CHICAGO—(ENEWSPF)—August 14, 2012.  On April 12, 2012, twenty-three mental health patients, nurses, therapists, caregivers and advocates were arrested at a sit-in at the Woodlawn Community Mental Health clinic. After years of other tactics, the sit-it group and its thousands of supporters sought to stop the closure of the City’s clinics and prevent the impending death, hospitalization, and incarceration of those who need them. 

The City administration responded to the peaceful sit-in with SWAT and other CPD armed with guns and chainsaws to cut through barricades. All were arrested. Today, arrestees, who plead not-guilty to trespassing, will go on trial despite being denied their motion to do a “necessity defense.” This defense would have allowed them to argue before a Cook County jury that the sit-in was necessary to prevent the greater harm of deaths, incarcerations, and hospitalizations that have in fact happened in the six weeks since the City closed the clinics. Since their motion was denied, defendants are putting together a mock trial for later in the month to put the city’s policies on trial but do not anticipate victory in court because they are not denying that they took actions they deemed necessary to stop the clinics from closing. 

“They’re killing us, without our clinics and therapists we have nowhere to turn,” said Helen Morley, who went to the now closed Beverly/Morgan Park Mental Health Clinic and passed away last week.

The trial will take place at 9 a.m. Tuesday, August 14 in front of Judge Chiampas Court Room 102 Branch 46 of the Cook County Criminal Court, 2600 S. California. There is a possibility it may be continued, however defense attorneys consider it likely the trial will in fact take place.