Monday, April 24, 2006

justice for martin lee anderson: FSU students on the move

while students at UM have been sitting-in, camping-out, and marching through campus to support the rights of janitors and groundskeepers, students at FSU and other colleges have been doing just about the same in tallahassee, to protest the governor's inaction in the martin lee anderson case. we wholeheartedly support their cause. this is the press release they put out today.

Dear Student Activists and others,

On Wednesday April 19, 2006 30 students from Florida State University, Florida Agricultural And Mechanical University, and the Tallahassee Community College began what would become a 33 hour sit-in in Governor Jeb Bush's office. We were protesting the lack of government inaction and the attempted cover-up by state officials in the Martin Lee Anderson case.

14-year-old Martin Lee Anderson was the victim of a brutal, sustained beating by authorities at a publicly funded boot camp in Panama City, Florida. The next day, he died. The coroner determined that the cause of death was related to sickle cell trait, an absolutely ludicrous claim. (continued in first comment)

here is an article on the students' protest in the palm beach post.


fwj said...

But after a videotape of the beating surfaced, his body was exhumed and a second autopsy was conducted. You can see the videotape here and a full report from Geraldo here. The autopsy report has yet to be released, and no arrests have been made. As the investigation has gone, emails, have disappeared, the FDLE commissioner was caught sending inappropriate emails between himself and the prosecutor promising not to release the tape, and the body was moved from Pensacola, where he died, to Bay County, where he was beaten, at the request of the sheriff which is where the medical examiner claimed he died of sickle cell trait.

At 9 a.m. on Wednesday morning, April 19, 30 FAMU, FSU, and TCC students fed up with the lack of accountability filed into the state Capitol and began a sit-in in Governor Jeb Bush's office (An article on how we organized the sit-in can be found in the palm beach post as well as other news sources in Florida).

Over the next 34 hours we met with Florida Governor Jeb Bush and his chief of staff, and persuaded the governor to meet with Anderson's parents. Late Thursday, Florida's law enforcement commissioner, Guy Tunnell, who is blamed for attempting to cover up actions at the boot camp, resigned. The Governor wrote a letter to the special prosecutor of the case urging him to release the autopsy report and make arrests expeditiously as well as to investigate the disappearing emails and the medical examiner. You can read the letter here

That Friday morning we held a rally of 3000 FSU, FAMU, and TCC students demanding justice for Martin Lee soon after we heard that the legislature is considering moving an extra 17 million dollars into the Juvenile Justice system, adding to the 16 million already allocated, to fully fund their request to create diversionary programs and help overhaul the system.

This has been a historic week for the students of Florida and students nationwide, we showed what can happen when we organize effectively.You can read full news coverage of the rally and sit-in in the Tallahassee Democrat and the Miami Herald, and other articles are available in the New York Times, the Washington post, and the Guardian UK.

I encourage you all to look into other articles and editorials, that were written about what happened hear in Tallahassee. Know that this is only the beginning, a premanent coalition has evovled from this case, and we are diligently working to ensure that the Parents of Martin Lee and the citizens of Florida see Justice. The movement has begun.

Gabriel Pendas
FSU Student Senate President
The Student Coalition for Justice, Chair

elizabeth said...

i think the work that Florida university students are doing is inspiring and commendable. for so many years, the young, particularly those of college age, were accused of being apathetic. and now, this generation is showing us that they will not stand for injustice. i am grateful to be a witness to the activism that is taking hold in Florida's universities. and i commend each and every student that stands up for what they believe in.