The call for justice in the case of Martin Lee Anderson grew louder today, as an estimated 700 protesters marched to the federal courthouse in Tallahassee. The demonstrators, organized by the NAACP, are demanding a federal civil rights investigation against the seven Bay County boot camp guards and nurse who were acquitted of manslaughter by an all-white jury on October 12. The protesters also singled out former Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Guy Tunnell, who, they claim, made racist remarks about the case and tried to prevent the dissemination of the surveillance tape that captured the defendants repeatedly beating Anderson (even after he’d gone limp) and shoving ammonia tablets in his face.
The day after the verdict the Justice Department and the US Attorney’s Office in Tallahassee announced that they had begun reviewing the case to see if there are grounds for federal obstruction charges against the defendants, who filed misleading reports on the incident. Today US Attorney Gregory Miller and Justice Department officials met with some of the NAACP organizers inside the courthouse, and Miller and colleagues from the civil rights division and the FBI later met with Anderson’s parents and their counsel. According to the Associated Press, Miller’s office issued a statement saying that “if there is sufficient evidence to establish a prosecutable violation of any federal criminal civil rights statutes, appropriate action will be taken.”