U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson cites boot camp death in opposition to bill that
would keep videos of murders from public
By Patricia Mazzei, Times/Herald Tallahassee Bureau
In Print: Wednesday, April 13, 2011
TALLAHASSEE — Don't tell U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson that videos of murders should be kept from the
The video of the brutal death of 14-year-old Martin Lee Anderson at the hands of security guards at a
juvenile boot camp in 2006 prompted Wilson and other lawmakers to close all of the state's military-style
Now the Florida House and Senate are advancing a measure that would exempt photographs, video and
audio recordings from public records laws. The bill would give access to such recordings or photos only to
immediate family members of the dead, unless a court rules otherwise.
State legislators were spurred to shut down the boot camps by Anderson's death, which was captured by a
security camera and made public after media outlets sued authorities.
"He was beaten to death on CNN, basically, and America watched him," Wilson, D-Miami, said in an interview.
"The public also has a part in identifying and helping law enforcement with catching criminals."
The push comes from Tampa, where last year the deaths of Officers Jeffrey Kocab and David Curtis were
caught on the dashboard camera of Curtis' cruiser.
The measure's sponsors — Rep. Rachel Burgin, R-Riverview, and Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff, R-Fort Lauderdale
— said their intent is to protect the privacy of the families of the dead.
Tampa reporters viewed video of the officers' death after a local media outlet sued for its release.
At a House state affairs committee meeting Tuesday, Burgin said her proposal — which would apply
retroactively to past cases — is necessary to ensure videos painful for family members don't make their way
Under current law, she said, "anyone anywhere can ask for this information."
That's the way it should be, Florida's First Amendment Foundation has argued.
Bogdanoff said in that situation, Martin's family could have chosen to release the video.
The bill is backed by a slew of state and Tampa Bay-area law enforcement agencies.