You knew one of them would die eventually. As soon as the whole "boot camp movement" took off, you knew this was coming. I did, anyway.
I've been indulging my COURT TV addiction again, and pondering the "boot camp death" of 14-year-old Martin Lee Anderson, as we watch closing arguments.
Hovering over the case is the decreased value and humanity of young black males in our culture. Obviously, Martin was just bitching and complaining; ain't nothing wrong with him. The video, which I have seen over and over, is chilling. They didn't believe him; obviously, they thought he was just faking his respiratory distress. They stand there in the video like a bunch of fucking idiots: Duh!
All eight stand accused, of standing there like fools as Martin dies. What's that expression? Throw the book at them. It's just so horrifying, to work a child to death like a MULE.
Guard describes procedure used to subdue teen who died after altercation at boot camp
By Emanuella Grinberg
PANAMA CITY, FL — A former drill instructor at a boot camp for juvenile offenders became emotional on the witness stand Monday as he recalled the only time one of his young charges died on his watch.You don't know???? You people killed him, obviously.
In more than 20 years of active service with the United States Army, retired Lt. Charles Helms Jr. said he never saw a soldier die under his command. But, as second in command at the Bay County Sheriff's Office Juvenile Boot Camp in Panama City, Fla., Helms was in the hospital with the parents of 14-year-old Martin Lee Anderson when they decided to take him off life support after an altercation with drill instructors the day before.
"This is a kid who came into our program in supposedly perfect condition, in perfect health," Helms testified. "I'm trying to figure out what in the heck is going on."
Helms, 51, was the first of eight defendants expected to testify. All are charged with aggravated manslaughter for Anderson's death on Jan. 6, 2006. Prosecutors rested their case before Helms took the stand Monday.Crocodile tears, I think goes the expression.
Along with Helms, former drill instructors Henry Dickens, Charles Enfinger, Patrick Garrett, Raymond Hauck, Henry McFadden Jr., Joseph Walsh and nurse Kristin Schmidt face up to 30 years in prison if convicted of aggravated manslaughter for the teen's death.
Prosecutors allege the eight defendants caused Anderson's death by suffocating him and administering excessive amounts of ammonia capsules on him when he refused to participate in a mandatory run on his first day at the boot camp.
During the encounter, which was captured on surveillance camera footage, Helms and the drill instructors are seen covering Anderson's mouth and waving the ammonia capsules in his face while Schmidt stood by.
But lawyers for the defendants, ages 30 to 60, say they were acting in accordance with boot camp policy and blame his death on complications from sickle-cell trait, a typically benign genetic disorder which impedes the flow of oxygen through the blood.
Earlier in the day, prosecutors called the chief medical director of Florida's Department of Juvenile Justice, who testified there was no outlined procedure for the use of ammonia capsules in the boot camp's policy manual.
As the final witness in the prosecution's four-day case, Dr. Shairi Turner also testified that the department did not consider sickle-cell trait to be a condition that would automatically exclude juvenile offenders from participation in the program, like asthma or even sickle-cell disease, a more advanced form of sickle-cell trait.
Helms, however, insisted that, had his staff known of Anderson's condition, they would not have accepted him into the program, which opened in 1994 to rehabilitate serious juvenile offenders considered on a track to adult prison.
"The last thing we wanted was for any kid to come into boot camp with physical ailments that would cause him to injure himself," said Helms, who was a drill instructor at Kentucky's Fort Knox before he went to work at the Panama City boot camp.
Several jurors leaned forward as they listened to Helms describe the precautions that the staff took to ensure the safety of the offenders. He described screening them for medical issues before they entered the boot camp, and separating gang members and using plastic flatware once they entered the program.
Helms said Anderson, who entered the boot camp for violating probation on a grand theft auto conviction, received the highest security designation upon entering the boot camp based on a record of gang affiliation and a propensity for violence.
In light of his security designation, Helms said that guards took the typical course of action when Anderson told them, "This is bulls---," and stopped participating in a 1.5-mile run to gauge his fitness level.
Standing next to a video projection of the surveillance footage, Helms described for jurors the actions he took upon being called to the drill field about 20 minutes into the encounter.
When he arrived, Helms said, Anderson appeared to be conscious and actively resisting the drill instructors' attempts to get him on his feet. Helms said he eventually took over administering the ammonia capsules by "cupping" his hand over the teen's mouth so he could determine through the movements in his jaw whether he was conscious.
The retired Army lieutenant testified that the use of ammonia capsules on offenders was normal, especially on the first day, when the teens were likely to feign unconsciousness to get out of completing the 16-lap run.
Nearly four minutes into the encounter, Helms said, he realized something was amiss and asked Schmidt to take his vital signs. Even though Anderson's heartbeat and respiratory rates were normal, Helms said, they decided to call 911 when the teen became clammy and unresponsive.
"My hand is on his stomach. I'm shaking him back and forth. At this point, I go from drill instructor mode to rescue mode," testified Helms.
Helms accompanied the teen in an ambulance to the Bay County Medical Center, where, after two hours, doctors decided to airlift him to the pediatric intensive care unit in Pensacola's Sacred Heart Hospital.
Helms said he was not permitted to accompany the teen, so he made the two-hour trip by car to Pensacola, where he waited in the hospital with Anderson until his parents removed him from life support at about 2 a.m. the next morning.
"Why did you go?" Helms' lawyer, Waylon Graham, asked him.
"It's one of my kids. I'm responsible. I'm the officer in charge," Helms responded. "I've been in the military for a long period of time and you never leave one of your soldiers."
Helms was prevented from answering his lawyer's question about how the incident had affected him, but the answer was clear. He wiped tears with a handkerchief as he stepped down from the witness stand.
Listening to: Yo La Tengo - Moby Octopad