It almost seems that I should start a weekly column featuring the latest news of torture and murder committed by military or law enforcement authorities. Here’s the latest.
Martin Lee Anderson was the 14-year-old boy who died January 6 in a Florida juvenile boot camp. He was beaten on the 5th, but survived. However, the incident was caught on a security tape. After months of official lies and coverups, the truth of how Anderson actually died was revealed in a second autopsy Friday. Anderson died of suffocation at the hands of guards who held his mouth shut and forced him to inhale a lethal dose of ammonia. Some of the beating video is available here.
Here’s the best version of the general story line I can gather from the various newspaper accounts of the story:
- 1/4/2006: Martin Anderson arrived at the Bay County boot camp.
- 1/5: Anderson was beaten until he collapsed by seven or eight guards. This was caught on security tape.
- 1/6: Anderson died.
- 2/13: The Miami Herald and CNN sued to obtain copies of the security video.
- 2/16: The local medical examiner (Dr. Charles Siebert) reported that Anderson died of sickle-cell trait.
- 2/17: The video tape was released to the public.
- 2/22: Sheriff’s closed the boot camp and placed officers on administrative leave.
- 3/2-8: Several experts make statements that it was extremely unlikely that Anderson died of sickle-cell.
- 3/10: Anderson’s body is exhumed.
- 3/14: Pathologist Dr. Michael Baden stated that Anderson did not die of natural causes.
- 4/12-21: Thousands of students and political leaders meet, rally and march protesting the murder and subsequent coverup.
- 4/20: Commissioner Guy Tunnell of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement resigned Thursday following a meeting with Jeb Bush.
- 5/5: Dr. Vernard Adams said Anderson died from suffocation.
At this time, no charges have been filed, but it appears that Governor Jeb Bush has been forced to become sympathetic to the cause. Perhaps Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour can follow Bush’s lead and pardon Cory Maye.
There are several very distrurbing trends. To begin, a good deal of these stories are coming from the south, like the Lester Eugene Siler torture case. The even more disturbing trend is that all of these cases (including Abu Ghraib) are coming to the light of day because they were somehow filmed or taped. How many of the recent accusations of torture have been dismissed because there was no camera available. Worse yet, how many murders have been covered up?