Another chapter in the Martin Lee Anderson story continued Tuesday morning as students, community members and other supporters hit the streets in protest of the ‘not guilty’ verdict of eight former boot camp workers on Oct. 12.
“I think Bay County is still sleeping,” said Carolyn Mosley, president of the Bay County branch of NAACP. We marched in June for justice and the boot camp was closed, the tape released, and the second autopsy done. We will not wait any longer for justice.”
As the third student-lead march began promptly at 11 a.m., hundreds of people were seen marching from Madison Street to North Adams Street towards the United States courthouse, arms linked together for injustice awareness nationwide.
Many students were outraged at the Anderson case verdict and hope the protest will lead to a turnaround.
“People have watched the tape and you mean to tell me that not one jury member could find anyone guilty,” said Shanese Stewart, a second-year accounting student from Miami. “We want justice now, we are tired of being put on the back-burner. People need to know what is going on.”
As supporters reached the courthouse, Mayor John Marks said he is proud of the student activism of FAMU, FSU and TCC.
“I support your right that those who need to hear you will hear you,” Marks said.
Though this march was centered on Martin Lee Anderson, supporters wanted everyone to know that this is not just a march for blacks; it is a march for equal justice for all.
“I was in the juvenile system when I was younger and saw the abuse of authority [in the juvenile system] first hand,” said James Lopez, 25. “The march is a justice thing; it’s not just about Anderson, it’s about Megan Williams, the Jena Six and all other injustices,” said the Tallahassee resident. “There are people from all ethic and racial backgrounds here for justice.”
Bringing the issue of injustice to the forefront, supports traveled from all other the state of Florida to participate in what they consider, ‘an attack on mankind.’
“I drove all the way from Miami for this worth-wild cause,” said Olivia Henry, a member of the Miami-Dade branch of NAACP. “They will see that we will not sit down and stand aside while they continue to murder our black men. We want justice, and we will stand up for our people.”
Support from Florida A&M University, Florida State University and Tallahassee Community College spanned well beyond the student body, with professors and staff workers walking hand-in-hand with the students. Marching for change and recognition, supports want the notion of “justice for all” to resonate throughout the nation, raising awareness of a faulty judicial system.
“No offense to PETA but we learned from the Michael Vick case that our federal government will hold you accountable for killing dogs, but we want to know will the federal government hold the police accountable for killing our children,” said Benjamin Crump of Parks and Crump Law office.
Shouting chants such as “We saw the tape, they’re guilty,” marchers expressed their concerns. Reverend William Foutz, president of the Inner City Council of the Southern Christian Leadership Council of Tallahassee said that the march today was needed.
“There was an all-white jury. Looking at the video tape it was unexplainatory,” said Foutz. “Justice for our white brothers and sisters is a different justice than it is for us. For justice, the march must be.”
The concern about the impact of the videotape not being recognized as obvious evidence by the jury was compared to the Rodney King police brutality tape and the Emmitt Till situation. Crump said that we look back 50 years to the tragic Emmitt Till situation, and the over mounting evidence against his murders, and see Martin Lee Anderson’s trial.
“The question to the justice department is real simple: Are we gonna let the history of our people continue to happen even with all the evidence in the world,” Crump said.