Thousands of students and others, including state legislators, gathered in protest. The “new school” students used “old school” tactics coupled with modern technology to organize a sit-in in Governor Jeb Bush’s office, a march and rally featuring civil rights icons, the Reverends Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton.
Protestors wore a band-aid on their forehead to symbolize the brutality Anderson was subjected to by law enforcement personnel just four hours after entering the Bay County, Florida (Panama City) boot camp which ultimately lead to his death.
Much controversy surrounds the death of Martin Lee Anderson as prominent officials, with ties to the boot camp were allowed to participate in the “investigation”. The findings of the Bay County medical examiner were disputed by video footage and a subsequent autopsy by an independent medical examiner. The head of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) was forced to resign amid comments made about Black leaders.
One of the students demands was that Governor Jeb Bush meet with the parents of Martin Lee Anderson. Here it is 106 days after the young man was murdered and the governor has not shown the decency in meeting with the parents. That, in and of itself speaks to the environment in which these boot camp employees felt comfortable in brutalizing the young people who enter its doors; Governor Bush should be ashamed.
It was pointed out how Governor Bush injected himself so vigorously into the Terry Schiavo case yet had very little to say about the Anderson case. The media and attorneys for Anderson’s parents had to seek legal recourse to get the videotape of the beating Anderson suffered at the hands of guards --- and witnessed by a nurse.
The protests were covered by local, state and national media. It is time that there is justice for Martin Lee Anderson and other children who have suffered and are suffering at the hands of those whose responsibility it is to care for them.
© 2006 VANESSA BYERS, Vanessa: Unplugged