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Youtube Video Leads to Exposure of Police Coverup in Florida Beating Death

A man who spent two decades working for the car industry in Michigan, looking forward to the day he retired in Florida, ended up killed by police the day he got here.

Key West police, of course, took the usual route by claiming the 61-year-old man was out-of-control and combative and that they were only trying to keep everybody safe when they restrained him.

Well, that’s just one story they spun. They also claimed they were pursuing him through the streets of Key West in a slow-speed chase, only for him to stop the car and run onto the beach where he collapsed, leaving the officers to find him with no pulse, so they tried their best to revive him to no avail.

But once again, a citizen with a camera captured the truth, showing Charles Eimers calmly walking from a few feet from his car where he laid on his stomach with his arms spread before him, obviously trying to comply with the orders of police who were moving in on him.

The video also shows the four officers moving in him with guns drawn where they start pulling his hands behind his back. The video then cuts out, but at no point did it show Eimers resisting.

Key West police not only tried to have his body cremated without an autopsy, a requirement for all in-custody deaths, they waited four days to notify his family that he was clinging to life in a hospital.

And when an autopsy was finally conducted, it was discovered he had suffered from ten broken ribs. Eimers family is now suing.

The incident took place last Thanksgiving, but it is now gaining national attention with a report today by CBS News on the “conflicting reports” behind Eimers’ death.

However, an independent news site based in Key West called The Blue Paper has been reporting on the inconsistencies since December, highlighting the fact that numerous witnesses reported police repeatedly tasing Eimers as up to six officers piled on top of him, shoving his face into the sand.

Click on this link and read from the bottom up to get an appreciation of how they stuck to the story that eventually drew the attention of a major news network. It is grassroots journalism at it’s finest.

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Meanwhile, Key West police have asked the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to conduct an investigation, but that also proved to be an attempt to continue the coverup as The Blue Paper exposed on April 18, 2014.

When Charles Eimers turned blue and lost consciousness while in the hands of Key West police officers on Thanksgiving morning, KWPD was informed immediately by Lower Keys Medical Center staff that Eimers would never leave the hospital.  Chief Lee decided to treat the case as a ‘death-in-custody situation’, which meant FDLE had to be called in to investigate.

Lee didn’t make the call himself, though; he asked one of his officers, Captain Scott Smith to do it.  Captain Smith did make the call and FDLE’s Chief investigator Kathy Smith took on the case. You might notice they have the same last name and think there’s some connection there, and well, you would be right.  On Thanksgiving morning after Charles Eimers virtually died on the beach, Captain Smith called his wife, his ex-wife, in fact, at FDLE.  Kathy Smith is now investigating the father of her child[ren].

And, what is Kathy Smith really supposed to do with all of this over in her FDLE office in Marathon?  One thing she’s not doing is interviewing witnesses.  Not interviewed: The restaurant worker who claims he and other employees heard officer Kathyann Wanciak yell, “Someone better get him away from me before I arrest the son of a bitch myself!” and ““He just murdered that man.”  Not interviewed:  the witness who claims Officer Lee Lovette made some incriminating admissions the day after the incident, and just this week we discovered another witness who was working the restaurant at South Beach that day, who said she heard a Taser being used repeatedly –  also not interviewed.

The death of Charles Eimers is turning into a wrecking ball; a loose cannon.  When were these law enforcement agencies intending to tell everyone about the conflict of interest between FDLE’s Kathy Smith and KWPD’s Captain Scott Smith?

This type of story is becoming all too common within law enforcement agencies throughout the country and the only reason it is getting any exposure was not only because a witness decided to video record the initial altercation, but an independent news site decided to keep pursuing it, risking police retaliation in the tiny town of Key West.

Let’s not forget that in today’s digital age, we all the power to capture the truth and expose the lies, which frustrates police to no end because they have lost control of the message.

According to The Blue Paper (May 9, 2014):

Chief of Police, Donie Lee, has repeatedly expressed frustration at the type of coverage The Blue Paper and others have given the Eimers case.  “There is an awful lot of speculation, rumors, and innuendo,” he claimed this week on US 1 Radio’s Morning Magazine. According to the Chief, it’s “unfair” and members of the press should sit tight and wait for the results of the FDLE investigation.

With all due respect, without press coverage, Mr. Eimers’ body would have been cremated prior to autopsy. This week FDLE has finally scheduled an interview with a witness who shared information with The Blue Paper and who has, for nearly five months, repeatedly tried to give FDLE a statement. There is reason to believe this may be the first witness, other than the police officers, to be questioned by FDLE is this case.

Contrary to the Chief’s opinion, The Blue Paper has no unfair agenda aimed at the police department.  This is unpleasant work, but someone has to do it.

 

About Carlos Miller

Carlos Miller is founder and publisher of Photography is Not a Crime, which began as a one-man blog in 2007 to document his trial after he was arrested for photographing police during a journalistic assignment. He is also the author of The Citizen Journalist's Photography Handbook, which can be purchased through Amazon.