Firefighters Appeal

The attorney for two of the fired Southport firefighters claims her clients are being used as a scapegoat for the racial tension surrounding the Martin Lee Anderson case.

Attorney Rhonda Clyatt says Bay County is under extreme scrutiny because of the racial incident at the boot camp and the firefighters are being sacrificed to take the focus off the boot camp case.

The accusation came in court papers filed this past week.

Gerald Merrit and Robert Broege are appealing their dismissal. They were fired for making racial comments and for violating the county’s smoking policies.

Ms. Clyatt wants the courts to decide if the former firefighters were denied due process, whether the firings were legal, and if there was sufficient evidence to terminate the men.

She also says he clients were denied the right to consult with their attorney before they made sworn statements.

The lawsuit says the firefighter who filed the original racism complaint against Merrit and Broege withdrew the complaint, yet the men were still fired.