Reaction to Second Boot Camp Autopsy

The results of the second autopsy are not in yet, but officials at the state attorney’s office in Hillsborough County are already saying it’s clear that 14-year-old Martin Anderson did not die of natural causes.

Anderson is the teenager who died shortly after a beating at the Bay County Boot Camp in early January, beating that was captured on videotape.

The medical examiner in Bay County concluded the death was caused by sickle cell trait, but Anderson’s parents insisted on a second autopsy.

One of the state lawmakers who first saw the boot camp tape, Rep. Gus Barreiro of Miami, says he was convinced all along that this was not a death by natural causes.

“As much as my heart goes out to the family, it was not a big surprise after viewing the tape almost a month ago."

"Watching this young man being brutalized by these guards, I never believed for one second that this young man, somehow if he would have been at home that day, he would have died of natural causes,” Barriero said.

We asked him if he though there should be some kind of follow up with the Panama City medical examiner.

“Oh, absolutely. I think there’s been, you know, at best irresponsible and most likely, um, malpractice over his authority because of the decision to come up with a single, um, sickle cell trait autopsy which we now know it was a bogus definition and decision by him.”

“Well, I think now the state attorney’s office is going to look at the case very seriously. We know that he did not die from natural causes. We know that he did not die from sickle cell trait. I think more importantly I think that we have to really identify the individuals who brutalized this young man and I hope the state attorney takes it very seriously and I hope these individuals get prosecuted.”

Barreiro, who chairs the committee that decides on funding for the Department of Juvenile Justice, says he’s more determined than ever to make sure all of the boot camps in Florida are shut down. The Bay County camp closed last week, but there are four others still operating in Manatee, Pinellas, Polk and Martin Counties.