With his boot camp ”virtually paralyzed” by the uproar over a teen’s death, Sheriff Frank McKeithen of Bay County, Fl. is closing down the controversial Panama City lock-up. Local prosecutor Steve Meadows asked Gov. Jeb Bush to appoint another prosecutor to investigate up to nine guards and the nurse tied to the death of 14-year-old Martin Lee Anderson. The boy’s family, lawmakers, and the news media increased their scrutiny of the boot camp. The Rev. Jesse Jackson is being courted to head to Panama City this weekend, a federal civil rights investigation is under way, and a new medical examiner may review the autopsy by Dr. Charles Siebert, who concluded that the teen died of a genetic blood condition — sickle-cell trait — and not the apparent manhandling he received from guards.
Bush he was somewhat ”surprised” by the sheriff’s decision to close the camp. ”Given all the publicity that this case has gotten, you could see how maybe the sheriff wanted to get back to fighting crimes. I think boot camps are part of the strategy that has reduced juvenile crime in our state,” Bush said, calling the teen’s death a “tragic case.”