NAACP Outraged Over Decision In Boot Camp Death Case
(WASHINGTON, DC) The NAACP is immensely disappointed in the decision by the Department of Justice to close the case of Martin Lee Anderson.
In 2006, Martin Lee Anderson, a 14 year old African American boy tragically died while in the custody at the Bay County Juvenile Boot Camp in Florida. In 2007, an all white jury acquitted seven deputies and a nurse who participated in the videotaped violent and torturous abuse of Anderson that resulted in his untimely death hours later.
“We commend US Attorney General Eric Holder and US Assistant Attorney General Tom Perez for their vigorous efforts to pursue an option to achieve justice in the tragic death of Martin Lee Anderson.. However, it is a travesty that the law of this land does not provide sufficient provisions to be able to prosecute the culprits of this inexcusable crime, especially when the lives of our children are at stake,” stated Benjamin Todd Jealous, NAACP President and CEO. “Children are our country’s most precious gifts and their protection and security should be our number one priority. Violence against our children within the juvenile justice system by law enforcement officials, the ones who are supposed to keep them safe, cannot be tolerated. We must push for federal legislation that keeps the future of our country safe,” concluded Jealous.
At the request of the NAACP, the Civil Rights Division of the US Department of Justice and the US Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Florida agreed to conduct a thorough and independent review of the case and to take appropriate action if the evidence indicated a prosecutable violation of federal criminal civil rights statues. After conducting such an investigation, the US Department of Justice has found that the existing criminal statues are inadequate to successfully convict the deputies and nurses.
“The NAACP Florida State Conference is deeply disappointed at the closing of the Martin Lee Anderson’s case without conviction. It is a sad day for Martin Lee Anderson’s mother, and for all Americans,” stated NAACP Florida State Conference President Adora Obi Nweze. “The NAACP and people throughout our nation should ask the question, how a current law stands that will allow people to have a legal loophole which effectively gives law enforcement officials a license to kill our children< We cannot and will not stand for this and look forward to working with our elected officials to enact legislation that will curb the unnecessary deaths of innocent children like Martin Lee Anderson.”
“The NAACP will be working proactively and swiftly with the United States Congress to craft and pass much needed legislation that will provide adequate protection for young people and all Americans caught up in the criminal justice system. The legislative void must be filled so that all people are protected and those who commit crimes against those in the criminal justice system can also be held accountable and brought to justice,” stated Hilary Shelton, NAACP Sr. Vice President of Advocacy and Policy.
Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation's oldest and largest civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities, conducting voter mobilization and monitoring equal opportunity in the public and private sectors.
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