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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

After boot camp death, calm in Bay County




PANAMA CITY -- A year and a half ago, Charles Siebert was condemned as the medical examiner with the gall to rule that a boy who collapsed at a boot camp died of natural causes. His conclusion -- that Martin Lee Anderson died of sickle cell trait, a disease that mostly affects African-Americans -- stood in stark contrast to what millions saw on TV. A surveillance camera captured guards hitting and kneeing the 14-year-old.

Protesters flooded the Capitol. They accused the doctor of racism and a coverup. Seven guards and a nurse are scheduled to go on trial here next month, each facing up to 30 years in prison. Siebert lost his job.

Now Bay County, the center of the controversy, has become Charles Siebert's sanctuary, a safe haven, though probably temporary, from the legion of critics who called for his head. Fired by the state Medical Examiners Commission this summer, Siebert has been given his job back by Bay County State Attorney Steve Meadows.

"I will not sacrifice Charles Siebert on the altar of political expedience or correctness," says Meadows, who has also given a lifeline to another figure caught up in the boot camp case, former FDLE head Guy Tunnell. Story here.

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 1:04pm]


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