Last week, seven guards and a nurse were charged
with aggravated manslaughter for murdering a 14-year-old African
boy at a Florida boot camp in January of this year.
Fourteen-year-old Martin Lee Anderson had been at the boot camp
for only hours before he was suffocated and brutally beaten
to death by guards. He had complained of having shortness of
breath, and so apparently to stop his shortness of breath, they
beat the breath out of him.
The initial autopsy done by a chief county medical examiner
was an attempt at a cover up. The examiner came to the conclusion
that Martin Lee Anderson died of natural causes due to sickle
cell anemia notwithstanding the video that showed the boot camp
guards beating him even after his body was completely limp.
outcry of the African community forced the State to do another
autopsy in May that found that he was suffocated to death by
the guards, who covered his mouth and forced ammonia tablets
up his nose.
Even these charges being brought against the guards is an attempt
to clear the State of any responsibility. Mark Ober, the Hillsborough
County State Attorney and special prosecutor assigned to Anderson’s
case, claimed that the investigation cleared State agencies
— including the Florida Department of Law Enforcement
and the Bay County Sheriff’s Office — of responsibility.
This assertion is ridiculous because it was the State’s
agents who murdered young Martin Lee Anderson, but what the
State would now do is throw it’s own agents on the grenade
to escape the blast, figuratively speaking. It is only doing
that because the video of the guards beating this African child
to death has been shown around the country, and it has to maintain
some illusion of being a just system.
Even still, the sigh of relief that Anderson’s family
has been breathing since the announcement of these charges may
be a bit premature, because it is still yet to be seen whether
the State will even convict its own. More often than not it