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Burning Spear News

Bootcamp Murder

Nov 1, 2006



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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.

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The 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 doesn’t.

 

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