Saturday, May 06, 2006

New autopsy raises allegations about teen's death at "boot camp"

New Autopsy Finds Fla. Boot Camp Victim Suffocated by Guards
TAMPA, Fla. — A 14-year-old boy ... at a juvenile boot camp died because the sheriff's officials suffocated him, a medical examiner said Friday, contradicting a colleague who blamed the death on a usually benign blood disorder.

"Martin Anderson's death was caused by suffocation due to actions of the guards at the boot camp," said Dr. Vernard Adams, who conducted the second autopsy.

Adams said the suffocation was caused by hands blocking the boy's mouth, as well as the "forced inhalation of ammonia fumes" that caused his vocal cords to spasm, blocking his upper airway.

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Martin Lee Anderson's body was exhumed after a camp surveillance videotape surfaced showing the guards roughing him up and shoving ammonia pills up his nose Jan. 5, a day before he died. ....

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No one has been arrested in connection with the death, which sparked protests at the state Capitol, forced lawmakers to scrap the military-style camps and led to the resignation of the state's top law enforcement officer.

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The videotape shows Anderson being kneed, struck and dragged by guards on his first day at the Bay County Sheriff's boot camp for juvenile offenders. He was eventually taken to a Pensacola hospital, where he died a few hours later.

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Anderson had collapsed while doing push-ups, sit-ups, running laps and other exercises that were part of his admission process at the camp. The sheriff's office said force was used on Anderson because he was uncooperative.

He had been sent to the boot camp for violating probation by trespassing at a school after he and his cousins were charged with stealing their grandmother's car from a church parking lot.

Yeah, we need to teach teen offenders some discipline, but abuse is not discipline.

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