Students rally for justice

Students from Florida A & M University, Florida State University and Tallahassee Community College chanted “No Justice, No Peace” as they marched to the Florida capitol in memory of Martin Lee Anderson.

On Jan. 6, Anderson, a 14-year-old boy at the Bay County Sheriff’s Office boot camp facility was pronounced dead after surveillance cameras showed four police officers beating him.

Almost four months after Anderson’s death, no arrests have been made.

“It’s a shame that we as Floridians and the government has allowed this to happen. It’s a shame how people can beat a child and not do anything about it,” said Jocelyn Gardener, a student at FAMU.

Diane Brown, a mother, said she traveled from Georgia just to march with students in Tallahassee.

“I had to be here today. I took off of work and came here from Georgia because this could have been my son. If this child died today it could be your child tomorrow,” Brown said.

Throughout the rally, protestors listened to both student and national leaders addressed several injustices regarding the death of Anderson.

Phillip Agnew, the current student body vice president and president elect for the 2006-2007 school year rallied students by comparing the march to a threat to state officials.

“Mark your calendars. March 21, 2006 is the beginning of the end. Governor Bush, this is not a test. Charlie Crist, this is not a test. Bay County, this is not a test. We will not stop. Justice delayed, your candidacy denied,” Agnew said.

The Rev. Al Sharpton and the Rev. Jesse Jackson were among national leaders in attendance who spoke to supporters about the continuing fight for justice.

“The only answer will be an arrest. The resignation doesn’t replace an arrest. The governor should be given credit for that but they should arrest those who killed him,” Sharpton said.

On Jan. 10, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement released a statement saying an inquiry has been conducted into the death of 14-year-old Martin Lee Anderson at the request of the Bay County Sheriff’s Office and the Department of Juvenile Justice.

The statement also said that the autopsy conducted by the Bay County Medical Examiner has ruled out trauma or injury as the cause of death.

Christina Hordge can be contacted at