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Family Gets Apology and a Check

May 23rd, 2007 by Mike Vasilinda

The family of a 14 year old who died after being roughed up in a boot camp will receive five million dollars from the state. Governor Charlie Crist today signed the bill approving payment, and as Mike Vasilinda tells us, the death has brought about major changes in the Juvenile Justice arena.

Hear it here: Anderson Bill Signing

The day NASA enhanced video became public…showing even more clearly how badly 14 year old Martin Lee Anderson was roughed up by his jailors, all while a nurse stood by… Charlie Crist had had enough. He met with the parents and brokered a 5 million dollar settlement. “It’s simply the right thing to do. You know, enough is enough.” Crist said on March 14th.

Crist and Martin’s parents prodded lawmakers, and fought back attempts to cut the amount. With the stroke of his pen, the governor made the settlement a reality. And it came with an apology. “We will never know… what you have endured and what you’ve had to go through and we are so sorry for your loss.” Crist told Gina Jones and Robert Anderson just before signing the claims bill. Robert responded “ “So I want to pay homage to  God  on this day… and I want to personally thank Charlie Crist.”

The family had little to say except to thank the governor. Afterwards, their attorney, Ben Crump, spoke for them. “We’re happy that it ended today with this good visit… this is sending a message to the future for the young people of the state of Florida.”

More than anything, this settlement is a testament to a mother who just wouldn’t accept the official version that her son’s death was unavoidable. And everyone involved with the settlement hopes that a message that brutality by officers carries a hefty price tag.
As a result of Anderson’s death, boot camps as they existed at the time have been closed.

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