Martin Lee Anderson: A life cut short
February, 2006


Martin Lee Anderson

Bay County, Florida Medical Examiner Dr. Charles Siebert's characterization of Martin Lee Anderson's death as the end result of a "cascade of events," implies inadvertency. It paints a vague, non-judgmental picture of events that no one could have foreseen or halted once the process started, and now we must accept this unfortunate accident with a tear and a sigh, and move on.

Accident or no accident?

If you see 6 or 7 vultures gathered in one place, at one time, doing one thing, you can be fairly certain that their activity and its outcome aren't accidental. I offer this imperfect analogy with my sincere apology to vultures, who, after all, perform a useful and necessary function in the scheme of things. The same can't be said for teen boot camps.

VIDEO: Life in a Florida boot camp and the death of Martin Lee Anderson

Click here to play.

Large file. Allow download time.

WARNING: This 8-minute video clip showing the fatal abuse of a teenager may be deeply disturbing to some viewers. Do not play it if children are present.

This video provides a rare candid view of standard boot camp activity: the goading, taunting, being marshaled about, and more. Those push-ups and track work aren't fitness training by any stretch of the definition. What happens at boot camp has a very different purpose. And if you're a newly-arrived, lanky black kid who plays high school basketball and wears a fancy hairdo, you'd better watch your step. The vultures began making plans for you the moment you came through the gate. Get prepared to run until you drop, or they just might drop you. They know exactly how to handle kids who are "being uncooperative," "unruly," "willfully disobedient," "resisting authority," "malingering" and "faking it." Toward the end of the video, we see it happen. We see a desperate, exhausted 14-year-old's last conscious moments in this life.

Jordan Riak, April 5, 2006

Attorney Benjamin Crump, right with Martin Anderson's parents, Gina Jones and Robert Anderson, left, announces plans to have Martin's body exhumed, Friday, March 3, 2006, in Tallahassee, Fla. The body of Anderson, a teen who officials say died from hemorrhaging caused by the usually benign condition of sickle cell trait, and not from the 30-minute altercation with guards at a Panama City juvenile boot camp, will be exhumed so a new autopsy can be performed. (AP Photo/Steve Cannon)

Shauna Manning, right, tearfully recounts what her son Aaron Swartz witnessed concerning the death of Martin Anderson at a news conference as Martin's parents, Robert Anderson, left and Gina Jones, center listen, Tuesday Feb. 21, 2006 AP

Surveillance video appears to show nurse Kristin Schmidt yelling at Martin Lee Anderson just before a deputy’s knee takes the 14-year-old down. She stands off to the side for several minutes as deputies use force on the limp teen, eventually walking away. (WGJH.COM)

Martin Lee Anderson walks while being held up by guards at Bay County Sheriff's Department Boot Camp, Panama City, Florida. AP

Feb. 17, 2006: A videotape released Friday shows guards at a Panama City juvenile detention boot camp kneed and hit a boy who appeared to have gone limp while others "restrained" him.


  1. All-white jury acquits boot camp guards, nurse in death, By The Associated Press, CNEWS, October 12, 2007

  2. Charges Filed in Boot Camp Death, Central Florida News 13, November 28, 2006

  3. Eliminating Boot Camps Does not Remove Need for Accountability in 14-Year-Old's Death; Martin Lee Anderson case demonstrates need for overhaul of juvenile justice system, By NAACP, June 1, 2006

  4. Autopsy: Boot camp guards killed teen; Second coroner's examination finds 14-year-old suffocated, CNN, May 5, 2006

  5. Second autopsy finds boy hit at boot camp died of suffocation, By Mitch Stacy, Associated Press, May 5, 2006

  6. Lawmakers close to deal to eliminate juvenile boot camps, By Brent Kallestad, Associated Press, April 26, 2006

  7. EDITORIAL: State-sanctioned abuse, St. Petersburg Times, April 9, 2006

  8. Doctor: Boot Camp Teen Likely Suffocated, By Bill Kaczor,, March 17, 2006

  9. Boot camp death not natural, second autopsy finds; Fed probe under way into Florida incident, CNN.COM, March 16, 2006

  10. Beating at boot camp is blamed for boy's death, From Jacqui Goddard in Miami, TIMESONLINE, March 16, 2006

  11. Lawmakers, Parents Outraged by Nurse in Boot Camp Beating Video, By Victoria Langley, WJHG.COM, (Undated posting. Probably late Feb.) 2006

  12. Boy, 14, tells of boot camp beatings. A boy who says he witnessed the beating of Martin Lee Anderson recalled what he saw and heard at the Panama City boot camp. By Marc Caputo, Miami Herald, February 26, 2006

  13. Body of Fla. Boot Camp Teen to Be Exhumed, By Melissa Nelson, AP News, February 24, 2006

  14. Boot camps to ban manhandling of kids
    The state's juvenile justice agency wants to avoid another boot camp-related death and wants to do away with the violent 'pain-compliance' techniques. By Marc Caputo and Carol Marbin Miller,
    Miami Herald, February 24, 2006

  15. Assess boot camps; Teen's death calls for juvenile detention study, OPINION:, February 24, 2006

  16. Sheriff to shut boot camp
    The Bay County sheriff says he will cancel the camp's contract in 90 days: Its "integrity ... has been compromised."
    By Curtis Krueger, Letitia Stein and Abbie Vansickle, St. Petersburg Times, February 22, 2006

  17. Boot Camp Autopsy Doctor Questioned Before, By Brent Kallestad,, February 20, 2006

  18. Tape Released Showing Teen Beaten At Boot Camp; Video Shows Guards Restraining, Punching Boy,, February 17, 2006

  19. Coroner: Beaten Boy Died of Blood Disorder, By Melissa Nelson, AP Online, February 16, 2006

  20. Strange Therapy By Maia Szalavitz, SOURCE:, February 15, 2006

  21. Is beating kids at boot camp all in a day's work?, By Fred Grimm, Miami Herald, February 14, 2006

  22. Video Shows Boot Camp Beating, By Brent Kallestad, AP, February 9, 2006

  23. Teen dies 3 hours after being admitted to Military-style lockup. Lawmaker demands shutdown, By Carol Marbin Miller and Mary Ellen Klas, Miami Herald, January 11, 2006

  24. NEWS RELEASE -- Florida Department of Law Enforcement Investigates the Death of Martin Lee Anderson, Guy M. Tunnell, Commissioner, January 10, 2006

By Jordan Riak

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