Watch CBSN Live

Boot-Camp Body May Be Exhumed

The family of a 14-year-old who died last month after he was kneed, struck and dragged by guards at a boot camp for juvenile delinquents plans to exhume his body for a second autopsy, an attorney said.

Martin Lee Anderson's family is disputing the conclusion that he died from hemorrhaging caused by sickle cell trait, a normally benign condition, and not from the 30-minute altercation, which was captured by a camp security camera and later broadcast nationally.

"We are working on the arrangements...," attorney Benjamin Crump said Friday. "Saying (Anderson) died of sickle cell trait is like saying a man who was lynched died because he had a weak neck."

The scenes from the tape outraged Anderson's parents. His mother said it proved the guards killed her son, despite a medical examiner's ruling that Anderson died from internal bleeding unrelated to the confrontation.

Crump said the family and the civil rights group NAACP have asked that Dr. Michael Baden, a renowned forensic pathologist who reviewed the medical evidence in the slaying of civil rights leader Medgar Evars, be involved in the second autopsy.

Baden, co-director of the New York State Police Medicolegal Investigation Unit, did not immediately return calls left by The Associated Press at his New York office.

Anderson died early on the morning Jan. 6 at a Pensacola hospital, hours after he collapsed while doing push-ups, sit-ups, running laps and other exercises that were part of his admission to the Bay County Sheriff's Office Boot Camp. He entered the boot camp for a probation violation for trespassing at a school after he and his cousins were originally charged with stealing their grandmother's Jeep from a church parking lot.

The county sheriff's office, which runs the camp, said Anderson was restrained after he became uncooperative. But the camp also admitted that mistakes were made, CBS News correspondent Jim Acosta reports.

The security video shows as many as nine guards kneeing, hitting and dragging Anderson around the exercise yard. The sheriff's office has said the guards were trying to get Anderson to participate after he became uncooperative. No one has been charged or fired.

Because of the controversy, Bay County Sheriff Frank McKeithen said he plans to close the camp in three months. It is one of six in the state, run by counties under state supervision.

An autopsy performed by Dr. Charles Siebert, the medical examiner for Bay County, found Anderson died of hemorrhaging caused by sickle cell trait, a normally benign blood condition that affects about one in 12 black people.

Siebert said physical stress caused a cascade of events ending in Anderson's red blood cells changing shape and causing him to bleed to death internally.

Numerous medical experts have called the finding unlikely. The state is investigating.

View CBS News In