An open letter to State Governors & Legislatures


9 so far! Let’s get to 10 signers!

I am writing to you because I feel passionately that Matthew Rushin, a gentle, young Black man with neurological processing differences that accompany autism spectrum disorder, should not be behind bars. Please review his case: a nonfatal car accident that involved no drugs or alcohol; a young, Black man with autism who has never before been in trouble with the law. This is someone who should not have been sentenced to 50 years and now spending a decade of his life in jail with violent offenders all because of a driving mistake. Furthermore, it is highly likely that the accident even occurred because of his losing consciousness due to a seizure. A forensic engineer and traffic collision reconstructionist with 33 years experience issued a report detailing the ways the Commonwealth’s suicide determination as a cause for the accident is not a plausible explanation. This is also what Matthew repeatedly told officers during his interrogation, when he should have been receiving medical care. This young, Black man has been criminalized and had his life destroyed. He has a history of being a model citizen prior to this accident - honors in high school, an engineering college student, a volunteer. He needs medical care for the cyst on his brain and is experiencing transient blindness and short term memory loss, further exacerbated by his recent assault in jail by another inmate. Please do what you can to help. Prison offers the Virginia community nothing in terms of betterment by keeping him locked up and potentially killing him because of lack of medical care and his vulnerability as a young man with disabilities in a brutal environment. Help his family bring him home. The injuries incurred to the victims involved, particularly the man with the most severe and sustaining injuries, are horrible. But the punishment is above and beyond inhumane and unproductive for Matthew Rushin to be sentenced to 50 years and serving 10 for a nonfatal car accident involving no drugs or alcohol.

First sent on September 30, 2020 by Tara

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