In January, boot-camp
guards from the Bay County Sheriff's Office beat and
suffocated 14-year-old Martin Lee Anderson before he
collapsed and died. The official response has been
too much stonewalling and coverup.
Now the family,
represented by Willie Gary's Stuart firm, has sued
the Bay County Sheriff's Office and the Florida
Department of Juvenile Justice for $40 million. If
the agencies had seemed more interested in seeing
justice done, the lawsuit might have been avoided.
Bay County Sheriff Frank McKeithen told The
Associated Press that he rejected a $3 million
settlement because, "The investigation is incomplete
and still pending at this time." Did he not see the
videotape of his guards beating Martin Anderson?
Rest assured that jurors in a civil trial will.
investigation, which is being led by Hillsborough
County State Attorney Mark Ober, "is incomplete and
still pending" six months later is of more concern
to the public than the lawsuit. No charges have been
filed against the seven guards. There still has been
no satisfactory explanation for how the original
coroner in the case, Charles Siebert, ruled
nonsensically that the youth died of sickle cell
Another issue is the
state's failure - despite promises from Gov. Bush
and the Legislature - to reform boot camps. The
politicians talked a good game shortly after Martin
Anderson was killed, but then didn't provide enough
money to replicate the model program run by Sheriff
Bob Crowder in Martin County. That program, with an
80 percent success rate, has shut down for lack of
Martin Lee Anderson's
family has gone to civil court. When will the case
get to criminal court?