PANAMA CITY, Fla. (AP) Eight former boot camp workers were acquitted of manslaughter Friday in the death of a 14-year-old boy who was videotaped being punched and kicked. The scene sparked outrage and changes in the juvenile system, but it took jurors just 90 minutes to decide it was not a crime.
Anger over the verdict was obvious outside the courtroom, where bystanders screamed "murderer" at former guard Henry Dickens as he described his relief at the verdict.
Martin Lee Anderson died a day after being hit and kicked by Dickens and six other guards as a nurse watched, a 30-minute confrontation that drew protests in the state capital and spelled the end of Florida's system of juvenile boot camps.
Dickens, 60, said Anderson "wasn't beaten. Those techniques were taught to us and used for a purpose."
The defendants testified that they followed the rules at a get-tough facility where young offenders often feigned illness to avoid exercise. Their attorneys said that Anderson died not from rough treatment, but from a previously undiagnosed blood disorder.