A BP Gulf Oil Spill HERO is railroaded through the Florida Criminal Justice System, then dies after being assaulted in the Florida State Prison System
Dr. Thomas B. Manton passed away on Wednesday, January 19th, after suffering an assault at Liberty Correctional Facility in Bristol, Florida. He was serving an unlawful 15-year prison sentence, after being wrongfully convicted of a crime he did not commit. Given Tom’s advanced age, serious medical conditions and health problems, and complete lack of criminal history, he should not have been placed into the general prison population. The Florida Department of Corrections further failed Tom Manton when they exposed him to the dangers associated with violent criminals who prey on other inmates just like Tom.
Tom was the former President/CEO of the International Oil Spill Control Corporation which was one of the very first oil spill control companies in the world formed outside of the rubric of the Oil & Gas Industry. In this capacity he helped create many of the protocols and establish many of the standards that are still in use today throughout the realm of oil spill control. He became an increasingly vocal critic of the BP response to the Gulf Oil Spill, and wrote five searing articles in that regard. He was particularly distressed that the US Federal Government allowed BP to completely take charge of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill disaster area, as his experience taught him that “the offending oil company should never be given command over the oil spill response”.
Tom Manton was one of the founding members of the Gulf Oil Spill Remediation Conference in Tallahassee, FL. In this capacity he formed the very backbone of this International Citizens’ Initiative offering his wealth of experience, broad and deep knowledge base, and penetrating insights into the complexities of proper oil spill remediation. Tom also brought an invaluable international network of professionals and contacts, many of whom joined the cyber-conference after his spirited recruitment. He truly appreciated the enormity and seriousness of the BP Gulf Oil Spill very early on, and set about the process of educating the US Government, as well as the States of Florida and Louisiana, about the huge challenges that lie ahead.
When Tom Manton was framed for a crime he did not commit, many of us wondered who it was that exercised so much power within the Florida Criminal Justice System. He was railroaded through the criminal justice process with such speed, force and determination – after the BP Oil Spill received so much national and global attention – that many of us could only come to certain disturbing conclusions. Furthermore, when a 15-year sentence was handed down, after Tom was led to believe that time served would be his only prison requirement, all of his colleagues became very concerned. His sentence, given all the extenuating circumstances, exceptional disregard of various criteria, and flouting of sentencing guidelines, was unprecedented in Florida history.
In light of these, and many other extraordinary points of fact surrounding his entire case, we are compelled to ask, “Just who is responsible for the death of Tom Manton – a true HERO of the BP Gulf Oil Spill?*
More importantly, this conference now poses the following question: “How will this nation, which Tom Manton served with great self-sacrifice, generosity of spirit and concern for his fellow Americans, honor his awesome legacy?”
*Certainly the very mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of Matt Simmons, another courageous voice with international stature who informed the world about the true state of affairs in the Gulf of Mexico, comes to mind when considering the silencing of Tom Manton.