Autopsy: Juvenile Boot Camp Detainee Died From Beating

by TChris

As TalkLeft reported here, after 14 year old Martin Anderson died in a Florida boot camp, a medical examiner opined that "sickle cell trait" caused Anderson's death. Martin's parents believe that Martin died as the result of a beating inflicted by boot camp guards -- a beating that was captured on videotape.

A new autopsy supports the parents.

[Dr. Michael Baden, a noted pathologist hired by Anderson's family who observed the second autopsy that was conducted on the teenager's body, said] Monday that the teen probably died from a beating by guards, not sickle cell trait, a usually benign blood disorder, as the medical examiner in the county where the camp was located initially ruled.

"My opinion is that he died because of what you see in the videotape," said Dr. Michael Baden, referring to a surveillance tape showing guards kicking and punching Martin Lee Anderson's limp body the day before he died.

What comes next?

"I'm just glad the truth is out," Anderson's mother, Gina Jones, said Tuesday. "But I already knew what the truth was. Now that the truth is out, I want justice. I want the guards and the nurse to be arrested."

The Hillsborough County State Attorney is investigating the death, as is the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division. The boot camp has been closed. Other states that operate boot camps should question the wisdom of relying on the "tough love" philosophy that pervades boot camps.

Civil rights leaders who rallied to support Anderson's parents said they hoped the case would lead to reforms.

"He was a microcosm of many young Andersons sitting in boot camps and detention centers across the state of Florida," said Sevell C. Brown, state president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

< The News From Iraq | Salon Challenges NY Times Identification of Hooded Detainee >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    Re: Autopsy: Juvenile Boot Camp Detainee Died Fro (none / 0) (#1)
    by Dadler on Tue Mar 14, 2006 at 10:13:09 AM EST
    What's next? Hopefully an end to these kinds of "camps". Perhaps the killing of Martin Anderson can at least initiate that much positive change. I had a bootcamp instructor-type for a stepfather. He did more damage to me than I can still describe. And to my little brother. Tough love is one thing, sociopathic control and physical abuse are another.

    These boot camps have always been dangerous and built on the old John Wayne "toughen up" notion and on the myth that military-type service "makes you a man." There is a young man in WA, now in his twenties, who still suffers PTSD from a boot camp experience many years ago (and was not in any way helped by the camp). I'm sure there are many other horror stories. At least this camp has been closed. It's time to close them all.

    Gee, another conservative, good old-fashioned, traditional-value approach comes up short and is exposed as the backwards, neanderthal fraud it is. Huh. What are the odds. If there were any Justice in this World, his folks would swap bank accounts with little Jebbie. It'd do the sanctimonious little putz good to miss a meal or two anyhow and his daughter would have to make arrangements to buy her own crack while she's in treatment. Let 'em see how the other half lives.

    Re: Autopsy: Juvenile Boot Camp Detainee Died Fro (none / 0) (#4)
    by HK on Tue Mar 14, 2006 at 10:34:26 AM EST
    I've never understood this tough love idea. My mother is a foster carer and looks after kids who have often severe behavioural problems. These kind of kids often fall into a life of crime. What they have missed out on in their early childhood is unconditional love coupled with gently but firmly enforced boundaries. Stuff the rest of us take for granted. To send kids like this to boot camps exacerbates this problem, leaving them with feelings of hatred for society and an increased feeling that they are owed something. Boot camps are inhumane as Martin Anderson's sad case has shown. But in addition, they just don't do anything productive for society or those lucky enough to survive them. BTW, tut, tut, Charlie, you are playing their game and you are above that :)

    Re: Autopsy: Juvenile Boot Camp Detainee Died Fro (none / 0) (#5)
    by Che's Lounge on Tue Mar 14, 2006 at 11:33:14 AM EST
    "Maybe if we knew he had sickle cell we wouldn't have beat him so hard. Why don't people tell us these things before we beat them?"

    Re: Autopsy: Juvenile Boot Camp Detainee Died Fro (none / 0) (#6)
    by scarshapedstar on Tue Mar 14, 2006 at 11:36:24 AM EST
    They were just trying to beat the sickle cells back into shape.

    Re: Autopsy: Juvenile Boot Camp Detainee Died Fro (none / 0) (#7)
    by Aaron on Tue Mar 14, 2006 at 04:28:01 PM EST
    This is something that will continue to happen as long as these boot camps remain relatively unregulated, especially when it comes to the people they hire to work these facilities. Usually it's ex military personnel, or ex-cops or ex prison guards who for some reason can't get a job elsewhere so they wind up at these camps, dealing with juvenile offenders. Oftentimes these former law enforcement types have lost their jobs in other municipalities for little things like excessive incompetence, overt racism or gross negligence. Without close supervision, such individuals turn these boot camps into their own private little gulags where they can indulge their sadistic tendencies unencumbered by watchful eyes. And these are the people the state puts in charge of trying to "help" troubled kids? What they're really doing is prepping these children for a life of incarceration, one of our largest emerging markets here in the sunshine state. I wish this kind of garbage was unusual for the state of Florida, but it's not.

    Re: Autopsy: Juvenile Boot Camp Detainee Died Fro (none / 0) (#8)
    by rMatey on Tue Mar 14, 2006 at 06:31:00 PM EST
    Hey, these tough love camps are valuable training places for the services, the CIA and also Abu Ghraib.

    According to the WAPO article the camp has been closed. Thank goodness. They need to close the rest of them down too. How on earth they think brutalizing children will help society is beyond me.

    Re: Autopsy: Juvenile Boot Camp Detainee Died Fro (none / 0) (#10)
    by Sailor on Tue Mar 14, 2006 at 07:22:28 PM EST
    Actually, the 'camp' was only closed so the sheriff in charge could reopen it under a different jurisdiction.

    Some crimes just cry out for the death penalty, beating a kid to death is one of them.

    Re: Autopsy: Juvenile Boot Camp Detainee Died Fro (none / 0) (#12)
    by john horse on Wed Mar 15, 2006 at 03:43:16 AM EST
    Why do we allow boot camps? I'm not just talking about the guards that beat Martin Anderson to death but also the conduct of the so-called good guards. If parents treated their children like these guards treated boot camp detainees the state would charge them with child abuse. And this isn't the first time. This is the third incident in three years.

    Re: Autopsy: Juvenile Boot Camp Detainee Died Fro (none / 0) (#13)
    by SeeEmDee on Wed Mar 15, 2006 at 04:11:22 AM EST
    Please refresh my memory: wasn't this kid thrown in the 'boot camp' for violating his parole with marijuana use? Since when is cannabis possession a capital crime worthy of equally capital punishment? And who passed the death sentence; a judge?

    It really saddens me to see headlines like these. Saddens me also to see people judging all facilities with the name "Boot Camp" to be just like this one. I myself work at one of these "awful" places. We have been operating for over 8 years with no incidents even remotely similiar to this. Some of our kids that we have had in the past have returned years later to thank us for turning their lives around and letting them know that selling dope or raping there little sisters wasnt what life was suppose to be. Beating their elderly grandparents and burning someones house down was a wrong choice. Some have kept the good military ways they have learned and still to this day use the respect for people and their country in their adult lives. Some are serving our country now. And also some left and are now serving time for murder. Repeated probation violations. Raping their sisters again or finding new victims. I do not in anyway think that these people at the "camp" in Fla should get anything less than prison time for murder. Thats exactly what they did and there are others just as guilty but if a white or a black man murders someone it does not mean all black or white men are the same. We have a very strict and state regulated program and people who dont want to follow it have no place with us. Its not tolerated to place your hand on a child for any reason other than restraint to prevent him from harming himself or another child within this program. These kids fight the program when they get there and cry when they have to leave us. They call after they are released to get a Drill Instructor to talk them out of recommiting. Not all should be judged.

    Yeah, and that nice Mr Capone used to have Soup Kitchens on the South Side of Chicago during the height of the Depression. Sometimes it was the only thing people got to eat. People shouldn't say all this bad stuff about him.

    Well thats a great comeback. Compare the work I do with the violent super criminal of the early 1900s. Doesnt matter if you believe that our program is different. I have 8 years of testimonies from kids at there graduations and many tears from them and our staff that lets me know we are in fact NOT all the same. I guess my comparison of you Charlie and the well known Charles Manson would be accurate in you line of thinking then, after all the names are just too close to not be accurate. Not in the name dear. Its whats inside. I am not arguing with the people behind Martin Andersons murdered should be punished. They took a life and had no right to do so. The peolple trying to cover it up should be equally punished. I only felt a need to speak up when I heard everyone saying we were all the same. We are not. Our facility has turned the lives around for 1000 of kids in our community. We dont beat belittle or brainwash. We teach, we listen, and we make these kids understand whats it is like to have a normal life. We take kids that have been on meth, crack, cocaine and heroin and we get them healthy mentally and physically. They cry. They laugh. They learn respect and in return get respect. Most leave with their heads up high. They leave knowing that they can in fact do great things. They recieve substance abuse counseling. We have a top notch sex offender program. Our goals are set to rehabilitate. These kids leave us rehabilitated or onto bigger things like county jail. Youth prisons. or turned lose because the system gave up and we had to turn them loose back on society so the same critics yelling abuse can scream that its our fault they reoffended because we were too soft. We have heard it all. Seen it all. Seen too damn much. We get tired. We want to give up but we still get up determined that little Johnny is not going to go home and beat his mom again with a hammer and put her back in the hospital. Not because we beat him. But because he knows he was wrong. He is drug free and the gang members he ran with are now all sitting in the pen for murder. Or dealing. He has an education and has managed to start hoping for the future. Not because we brainwashed him but because he cares about himself. He has felt some self pride. And when mom came to visit she wasnt afraid of him anymore. And he wants that feeling to stay.

    Geez... I got so worked up my spelling was lousy on last post! Guess I need to let it go huh Charlie. I can tell your mind is set.