Boot Camp E-Mails

Documents show that the head of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement wrote to Bay County's sheriff about the state's boot camp investigation.

The Miami Herald reports that FDLE Commissioner Guy Tunnell wrote to Sheriff Frank McKeithen and others during the state's investigation into the death of a teenager who was punched and kicked at the sheriff's boot camp.

In e-mails, Tunnel criticized those who questioned the effectiveness of the boot camp concept. He started the Panama City boot camp when he was Bay County's sheriff.

The newspaper also reports that Tunnell forwarded McKeithen an e-mail detailing the agency's effort to withhold a video showing the guards hitting the teen.

FDLE spokesman Tom Berlinger says because of their jobs, Commissioner Tunnell and the rest of the staff are, quote, “friends with all 67 sheriffs in the state of Florida.'' But he also told the newspaper that doesn't stop them from being fair and impartial in any investigation.

State Rep. Gus Barreiro, who first saw the camp video, says he still has concerns about a possible conflict of interest with FDLE doing the investigation.