Boot Camp Closure Sought

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The beating death of a 14-year-old while in custody at the Panama City Boot Camp has angered Florida’s black legislative delegation.

The African American lawmakers are calling for an investigation and for the Bay County Boot Camp to be closed until the safety of other kids has been assured.

Meanwhile, state officials are getting closer to releasing a videotape of the beating that led to the death.

State Senator Tony Hill says four recent juvenile justice incidents all involve African American youth.

Fourteen-year-old Martin Lee Anderson died within hours of arriving at the Bay County Boot Camp. The death was captured on videotape, and lawmakers want that tape made public.

Jeb Bush says he has not seen it, but wants the tape made public sooner than later. “I believe FDLE has shown the tape, or plans to show the tape to the family out of respect, or, their situation. Legislators saw it!”

The attorneys for the family say no one has contacted them about viewing the tape. FDLE chief Guy Tunnel says it won’t be released until his investigation is complete. We are moving along with the case. We are waiting for some medical results. We anticipate finalization any day now.”

In addition to the death of Martin Anderson, a disabled teenager was recently raped by a sex offender at a juvenile detention center where he was sent because the state had no treatment beds available for the youth.

Members of the Florida Conference of Black State Legislators held a press conference this afternoon to announce they want to see the videotape, they want an investigation by state and federal agencies, and they want all of the boot camps in Florida shut down.