Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Boot Camp Cover Up

Jeb Bush isn't happy about Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Guy Tunnell playing email tag with Bay County Sheriff Frank McKeithen. Bush didn't mention that Tunnell was coordinating their efforts to keep the video of Martin Anderson's beating from becoming public.

"Ain't gonna happen," Tunnell wrote in an e-mail to FDLE staffers about the request.

But one of the lawmakers who first saw the video said Tuesday FDLE should've stayed out of the Bay County troubles since the boot camp was conceived by Tunnell when he was sheriff there.

"I encourage the state attorney's office who is investigating this and I know the federal government is investigating this, to look at what potential cover up has been and all the potential players in it," said state Rep. Gus Barreiro, R-Miami Beach, adding that "from day one, there's been a big cover up on what happened to Martin Lee Anderson."

Mike Cazalas of the Panama City News Herald wrote about charges of racism against Tunnell. Cindy Farr filed suit against Tunnell. She alleged that Tunnell was harassing the black patrons at the Sundancer night club.

What gets interesting is that the County Commission offered legal advice to the residents around Sundancer and provided a sample lawsuit. The county voted to file its own lawsuit, with former Commissioner Carol Atkinson dissenting.

“They are breaking no laws,” she said at the time. “Bay County is not some Third-World country where businesses can be shut down willy-nilly.”

The club did shut down. Cindy Farr, the proclaimed owner, filed suit. It was dismissed because a corporation, not Farr, owned the club.

But U.S. District Court Judge Stephan P. Mickle wrote in an order dated May 18, 2000, that most of Farr’s complaints merited being heard by a jury.

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