TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A $5 million settlement for the family of a teenager who died after being roughed up by guards at a state-supervised boot camp won lawmaker approval Wednesday and was sent to the governor, who is expected to sign it.
Gov. Charlie Crist and black legislators had led the effort to compensate the family of Martin Lee Anderson, who died in January 2006 shortly after being kneed, struck and having ammonia tablets held to his nose at the military-style facility run by the Bay County Sheriff's Office in Panama City.
The state has already paid Anderson's parents $200,000, the most allowed by law without legislative approval. The bill would pay the remaining $4.8 million of the proposed settlement.
"While no dollar amount will return their son to his family, compensating them for this tragedy is the right thing to do," Crist said.
A message left for Benjamin Crump, the attorney representing Anderson's parents, was not immediately returned.
Although run by the sheriff's department, the camp was part of a state program under the Department of Juvenile Justice, which did not contest the settlement. The Legislature dismantled the military-style youth boot camps last year after Anderson's death.
Death first blamed on illness
The sheriff's office has separately settled with the Anderson family for $2.4 million. Seven guards and a nurse employed at the camp face manslaughter charges.
An initial autopsy report blamed the 14-year-old's death on complications from sickle cell trait. A second autopsy, though, found Anderson died from suffocation due to being forced to inhale the ammonia.
Anderson entered the camp for a probation violation for trespassing at a school after he and his cousins were charged with stealing their grandmother's car.
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