By Trenton Davis
5:55 p.m. 11-17-06
A former Department of Juvenile Justice employee describes the taped beating of Martin Lee Anderson as worse than Rodney King's. For that assessment, he says he was fired and is now taking the state to court over it.
"I believe that the reason I was terminated was because I wouldn't go along with misrepresentation related to Mr. Anderson's death," said Steve Meredith, a former inspector general for the Juvenile Justice Department.
Meredith filed a lawsuit against the DJJ for wrongful termination. He was one of the first people outside of the Bay County Sheriff's Office to view the video taped beating of Martin Lee Anderson.
"I recall describing how while Mr. Anderson was being held on each side by guards with his arms out stretched another guard was behind him with one hand covering his mouth while he was forcing an ammonia tablet up his nose," added Meredith.
In a conference call with DJJ administrators, Meredith and one other employee described the actions of the guards as violations against restraint protocol. Within a month both were out of a job.
"There was one person who had also seen that film at the same time that said, oh it wasn't that bad. And that person is still, of the three participating, he is still with the department. And the other two are now gone."
Attorneys said Meredith's termination is the latest clue suggesting DJJ is covering up Anderson's death.
The Department of Juvenile Justice said Meredith's termination was entirely unrelated to the Martin Lee Anderson investigation. His termination letter said only that Meredith had violated Florida administrative code rules.