No Passion For Anderson

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[On The Spot]


If you missed the movie, “Passion of the Christ,” log onto Utube and watch the beating a young Black male child was given when he was sent to a Florida juvenile lockup on the first day. 

The eight minute video caught on the Boot Camps’ surveillance camera was enough to put everyone seen in the video away for a long time.  But, Florida justice is done another way—there’s no value attached to a young Black child’s life.

Martin Lee Anderson, 14, sent away for “stealing” his grandmother’s car, through the cruelty of some wannabe youth officers and a nurse, never got to celebrate his January 15th, Earthday, which was just nine days away.  Anderson was pronounced dead from oxygen deprivation, an over use of ammonia capsules; from the video, he’s clearly being dropped on his face at least twice and excessive use of physical force is applied.

However, Charles F. Siebert Jr., a Florida Medical Examiner, in Panama City, ruled out foul play and reported Anderson, “Died a natural death caused by complication of sickle cell trait.” 

Siebert has a recorded approximately 35 negligent autopsies out of 698 cases. The video speaks for itself and this Examiner to attribute “Sickle cell trait,” as a cause of death is dangerous and criminal at best.  His license should be revoked and criminal charges should be filed against him. His report is an affront to all African Americans who have
the trait. 

An investigation was stymied by Guy Turnell, the Camps’ commissioner, who sent emails to the current Bay County Sheriff, Frank McKeithen to withhold the video tape, which was later made public.   

Steven Meadows, the State Attorney of the 14th Judicial Circuit, supposedly “disqualified himself and requested the executive assignment of another state attorney to avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest or impropriety in this case.”  State Attorney for the 13th Judicial Circuit, Mark A. Ober, took over the case and removed the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) from the investigation; he sent then Governor Jeb Bush a 19 page report.

President Select Bush’s brother, Jeb, had returned to his office April 19, 2006, after a trip to Iraq, Kuwait and Afghanistan to find local college students staging a sit-in. They took over his waiting room, which lasted to the next day.

There was a demand for Bush to issue a public apology for the cover-up of the investigation and the arrest of the guards who were responsible for the murder of Anderson while in their care. Schools such as, Tallahassee, Florida State University, Florida A&M University, and Tallahassee Community College came together to bring attention to Anderson’s case.

Anderson’s parents, Robert Anderson and Gina Jones, met with Governor Bush, April 20, 2006, with four students and lawmakers and he supposedly promised to keep an “open dialogue,” about the matter. Commissioner Turnell, resigned the next day. 

However, last year when the family returned to Tallahassee on September 22nd, to meet with Bush, he refused their visit, and a public apology was never made.

The seven guards seen in the video, Henry Dickens, Charles Enfinger, Patrick Garrett, Raymond Hauck, Charles Helms Jr., Henry McFadden Jr., Joseph Walsh and the nurse, Kristin Schmidt were charged with aggravated manslaughter of a person under 18. “This evidence will show that by what these eight defendants did and by what they failed to do, that boy lost his life,” declared Pam Bondi, Assistant State Attorney who prosecuted the case. Each defendant was found not guilty after a Florida jury trial.

There are some serious problems with the case of Anderson’s death, which should be investigated by the Department of Justice. “Should the U.S. Attorney’s office and the Civil Rights Division determine that there is sufficient evidence to establish a prosecutable violation of any federal criminal civil rights statues, appropriate action will be taken,” explains Gregory Robert Miller, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Florida in a October 23, 2007 memorandum.

Any legal minded person watching the video can see something very wrong is going on here.  These well-built guards restrained Anderson – they grabbed then shoved him to the ground and as his face made contact very hard – one of the guards fell on top of him making the impact that much greater. This young child was knocked cold. There was no need for seven guards to handcuff him. These guards and the nurse were in the wrong line of work.

Clearly from the video these guards tortured Anderson and treated him less than an animal while trespassing on his Human Rights. His family trusted this justice system and must feel horrible for their son. No matter what Anderson did or did not do, there is no place for cruel and unusual punishment. The Eighth Amendment to the United State Constitution is alive and well and it must be applied to Anderson’s investigation.

The family filed a wrongful death suit for $40-million against the Department of Juvenile Justice and the Bay County Sheriff’s office.  An offer was made to settle with the Sheriff for $3-million the maximum allowed under the agency’s insurance, which was refused due to an open investigation. 

However, when the video was made public, the Bay County agreed to pay the family $2.4-million. 

The videos:

The Black Star News will continue to cover this case in the interest of our readers.

Contact Winkfield: (347) 632-2272 By mail: On The Spot, Post Office Box 230149, Queens County 11423; for his consideration regarding covering your own story.  Email: or; call (212) 481-7745. 

Watch Manhattan cable channel 34 or channel 34 every Sunday at 7:30 P.M. for news updates and other articles.  Together we can get the justice everyone just talks about.

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