The parallel universe of drug addiction is a Hall of Glass and Mirrors, where you don’t know where you are; just when you think you can maneuver your way out, you hit another glass wall. You turn, put your hand out, and then see yourself holding out your hand toward a mirror.
Like this, except in the parallel universe, it’s no fun.
Although I don’t know all the pertinent facts, it appears to me that the Granju and Allison families have hit the Drug Addiction Universe wall labeled “criminal justice.”
Henry Granju was admitted to an emergency room April 27, several days after a drug overdose and brutal assault that left him bleeding from the ears and with a severe brain injury. On May 1, Henry’s mother, Katie Allison Granju wrote a post on Babble.com that revealed her “secret,” that she is the mother of an addicted child. She then posted to her blog mamapundit.com regularly regarding Henry’s condition. A huge number of people were reading and responding, mostly with kindness and sympathy, to her and her family whose ordeal went on for over a month. Henry’s condition began to worsen toward the end of May. Over the Memorial Day weekend, Henry Granju died of his drug overdose and/or injuries.
In a May 26 post to mamapundit, Katie Granju shared that she had finally gotten in touch with the Knox Co. Sheriff’s Office investigator in charge of Henry’s case. The encounter turned out unfortunate at the least:
He basically told me that unless and until he can get an interview with H in which H tells “his side of the story,” then “there is no victim.” . . . I tried to explain to him that H has suffered a major brain injury and isn’t currently capable of giving an interview that would be of any real use whatsoever, and he suggested that this scenario means the investigation will likely stall out completely. He also told me he hasn’t spoken with several of the major players in what happened that day.
A June 2 post to the Knoxnews.com (after Henry’s death) reported that family members had “given authorities the names of witnesses to the assault, as well as the names of Granju's alleged attackers:
According to the Sheriff's Office, as well as a family member's account, Henry Granju was beaten and robbed by three assailants during an attempted drug buy in the parking lot of the Bi-Lo market, 2230 W. Governor John Sevier Highway, on April 26. Family members say a tire iron was used in the assault.
A June 4 story on volunteertv.com reported that the KCSO publically released preliminary autopsy results, but without first notifying the families, another truly unfortunate move. No, a thoughtless move. No, a STUPID move. The preliminary cause of death is listed as anoxic ecnephalopathy, according to the story.
A June 5 knoxnews.com story quoted Sheriff Jimmy Jones saying that Henry Granju “had not been beaten with a tire iron or any other weapon two days before he was admitted to a hospital after an apparent drug overdose”:
‘Our investigation has shown that this is a simple assault,’ Jones said Friday. . . . ‘In addition, with the death Monday of Henry Louis Granju, there is no way to prosecute the two people who used fists to beat him,’ Jones said.
This sheriff needs to get a huge dictionary out in front of him and first look up “simple.” Somehow, assaults that play a role in a death cannot, by definition, be simple.
Questions, Big Questions
The Bosch Law Firm, representing the Granju family, has released a statement addressing the “unanswered question and incorrect information” surrounding Henry Granju’s case.
The Granjus will try to answer some of [those questions], supported by medical records from treating physicians in the upcoming days. . . . The Granjus and counsel will not be available for further public comment about this investigation until June 9, 2010.
Un-interviewed alleged witnesses and assailants?
Attempted interview of a brain-damaged 18-year-old who could not speak?
Autopsy released to the public without prior notice to the family?
No tire iron; maybe only fists?
Whatever the facts turn out to be, however unable the Tennessee laws leave prosecutors to bring a case forward, whether laws or forensics can connect the assault to the death, whatever, whatever, whatever:
ALL OF THE ABOVE IS UNACCEPTABLE response from law enforcement. Period.
It leaves me furious, especially in light of what I am tolerating from our criminal justice system that has, for the third time, allowed my terribly addicted daughter back out on the streets, where only two options exist for her: back in jail or death.
Welcome to the Parallel World of Drug Addiction. Watch out for the glass and mirrors.