Escambia inmate's death brings protest

More than 200 people march outside the county jail, saying they want answers and justice.

Associated Press
Published October 24, 2005

PENSACOLA - Prisoners inside pounded on windows and waved rolls of white toilet paper as more than 200 people marched past the Escambia County Jail to protest an inmate's death.

Leaders of Saturday's march said they wanted answers and justice for the family of Robert Boggan, 65, who had a history of mental problems.

The truck driver died Aug. 29 after spending 11 days in the jail on aggravated assault and criminal mischief charges.

He was arrested with a gun tucked into the waistband of his trousers after creating a disturbance at a Dollar Tree store.

His death remained under state investigation. Family members have not yet been told the cause of death, said Cynthia Wilson, 46, Boggan's niece.

They have alleged in a lawsuit that he died after guards shocked him with a Taser as punishment for not following orders.

Jail director Dennis Williams denied that a Taser was used on Boggan the day he died but said he was placed in a restraint chair and given a sedative after acting irrationally.

Some marchers sang spirituals and wore gray T-shirts imprinted with an electric chair and the phrase "The Life You Save May Be Your Own."

Boggan's widow, Estelle Smith-Boggan, 64, said her husband was "a hardworking, churchgoing man" but suffered from schizophrenia.

"He was a good man," said son Donnell Boggan, 21.

"This should have never happened to him. We will not stop until we get justice."