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Bob Carroll
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Boot Camp Becomes Death Camp

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Boot camps for juvenile offenders are intended to provide a strict regime that leads to a better life. The Miami Herald reports on a camp session that got tragically out of hand.

Guards seen beating teen in video

A 14-year-old boy was ”brutally” beaten by guards and ”flung around like a rag doll” at a boot camp for juvenile delinquents in Panama City hours before he died at a Panhandle hospital, according to two lawmakers who on Wednesday saw a videotape of the incident.

The video, which recorded the last 20 to 30 minutes of the teen’s stay at the Bay County Sheriff’s Office Boot Camp, shows officers at times kicking, punching and choking Martin Lee Anderson after he refused, or was unable, to comply with officers’ orders to run or do other exercises, the legislators said.

Martin, of Panama City, died Jan. 6 at Pensacola’s Sacred Heart Hospital, hours after he was admitted to the boot camp, which is operated under a contract with the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice.

Clearly shaken, state Rep. Gus Barreiro told The Miami Herald that the tape depicted ”the most heinous treatment of a human being” he had ever seen. “It was obvious to me the kid was unconscious, and they were still abusing him. People will be outraged when they see this tape, and they should be outraged.”

”This could be anybody’s son,” added Barreiro, a Miami Beach Republican who chairs the House Juvenile Justice Appropriations Committee, and has headed a separate committee investigating alleged abuses in DJJ facilities.