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Boot Camp Whistle Blower

November 17th, 2006 by Mike Vasilinda

A high level investigator for the Department of Juvenile Justice says he was fired for issuing a report in the Martin Lee Anderson case that condemned the actions of guards.. Steve Meredith was one of three initial investigators at the Bay County Book Camp when Anderson died last January. As Mike Vasilinda reports, Meredith and another co-worker who concluded guards acted improperly were fired, while a third investigator who disagreed kept her job.

Hear it here: DJJ Whistleblower

Martin Lee Anderson Died last January 6th. His death is still under investigation and no charges have been filed. Steve Meredith was one of three investigators from the state who were first on the site to investigate the death. After seeing the boot camp beating on videotape, Meredith concluded guards acted improperly. He and another investigator who agreed were fired. Meredith says he assessed the death for his bosses on day one.

“The Secretary had asked a question about how bad this is, and I don’t remember the exact wording, but either I made the statement or he asked was this as bad as Rodney King? And I made the statement that absolutely, yes it was.”

A third investigator who disagreed with the other two is still working. Ben Crump, The Anderson Family Attorney who has filed suit against the state, says Meredith was let go because he will now be considered a hostile witness with less credibility than if he still worked for the State.

“and what Mr. Meredith was advising is that they violated the policy. They violated their policy of using these amonia tablets. This was two months before it was concluded

that this is what killed Matin Lee Anderson.

To this day, Steven Meredith says he has not been told why he was let go.

DJJ’s Cynthia Lorenzo says that’s not true and provided the following statement:

Mr. Steve Meredith’s termination by the department was entirely unrelated to the Martin Lee Anderson investigation. The department has advised Mr. Meredith of the reasons for the termination. Mr. Meredith was an at will employee who serves at the pleasure of the secretary as stated in Florida Statute Section 110.604. We have attached the termination letter that speaks for itself. meredith-termination.pdf

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