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There is a different post today at www.goodmorningfloridakeys.com, which should should be abler to reach by clicking on that link today, and by clicking on this link at anytime:
interesting breaking news yesterday in lower Florida Keys sewer grinder pump war: apparently shallow-buried grinder pump high pressure sewage lines spring undetectable leaks which bleed raw sewage into the shallow salt water table, which raw sewage then migrates into the ocean; but deep-buried low pressure gravity sewage line leaks cannot get out of the line into the water table because the water table pressure is higher than the gravity line pressure, and gravity line leaks can be detected and repaired; the point of sewering the Keys was to eliminate septic systems and cess pits, but it appears grinder pump sewage systems, which may work okay on the mainland, are not what the Keys need
Meanwhile, the public relations conflagration continues in Key West.
Tim Gratz, of Key West, wrote to me yesterday:
Subject: Not O’Reilly, but Oh, Really?
Date: Fri, 13 Dec 2013 16:50:56 +0000
You wrote today:
Like, you buy the place and some day later decide to sell it, or you have died and gone to Badger heaven and your estate wants to sell it
I know you speak with angels or they too you. Is that your basis for your assertion today that there is a special heaven for Wisconsin Badgers? I researched and could find no Biblical reference to such a proposition.
Not sure God really ever intended that people that live in places that are so bone-chilling cold four months of the year. Maybe Badgers deserve a special place in Heaven for enduring those winters.
RE THE STRIPPER YOU GAVE A RIDE TO–NOT SURE IT MATTERS BUT I MAY HAVE SEN HER A TIME OR TWO …
Back to what could be for public input:
I respect Mr Wheeler and the work TDC does. But I can hardly believe that he is quoted as saying that the four and a half minute segment seen by millions of viewers does not believe it will do any harm. In my opinion, no one (other than perhaps a drunk or too but they are unlikely to be watchers of O’Reilly) who saw ever likely to want to come down here. If four and a minutes of blasting Key West will have no effect on Key West tourism why does TDC spend millions of dollars attempting to promote positive visions/images of Key West to attract tourists? Positive media exposure is helpful but negative exposure to millions of tv readers has no effect on tourism? The logic is less than overwhelming.
I can hardly believe that the City may not respond, and respond hard, to the segment. I think there should be a very vocal demand by a unanimous City Council to have four minutes and thirty four seconds to respond to the hatchet job. The Watters piece provides that opportunity.
If the TDC believes that positive publicity helps, how much would it cost for TDC to PURCHASE four and a half minutes of commercial time on O’Reilly? Millions, I am sure. But the Watters segment gives the City the possibility of getting that much time for free.
In my opinion, the City should demand equal time in a strong letter to Roger Ailes, O’Reilly and the entire board of Fox. They should also demand that at least for a few weeks the City-produced response should be on O’Reilly’s website to ensure that people who saw the Watters piece see the City’s response.
And in my opinion if O’Reilly refuses the equal time, the good citizens of Key West should advise O’Reilly’s advertisers that they willno longer purchase their products unless the advertisrs can persuade O’Reilly to give that equal time.
I have a fairly good plan for how a four and a half minute response can be organized. It basically came from Rick Boettcher.
I know that in a political campaign the universal wisdom is that you have to reply to attacks. The same reasoning should apply to cities and tourism.
It is easier for me to believe that there is indeed a Santa Claus and that my parents were just taking unwarranted credit for the presents I found in the few years that I was more nice than naughty than it is for me to believe that the Watters piece will not affect the image of Key West to the millions of O’Reilly viewers who saw that segment earlier this wek.
Moreover, even if there is no equal time given, I think the segment deserves a response, and a response directed to all Fox directors.
I bumped into a man on the street today, who probably is as well known in Key West as Mayor Cates. We had a howl over the O’Reilly video. It will cause the Tea Party, Republicans and Christians to stay away from Key West, and make it a lot better place. Get rid of the riff-raff. We hardly could stop laughing for several minutes. You’d probably shit in your britches if I told you this fellow’s name.
Whatever, back to your Republican-Christian brain function, first cousin of Judeo-Christian brain function – sans the Jesus part, who said to turn the other cheek and pray for and do good to those who persecute you.
What Reilly did to Key West was the same thing Osama bin Laden did to America. It was bait. Just as bin Laden was dying for G.W. Bush Stupid, Inc. to invade an Arab country, or any Islamic country, O’Reilly is dying for Key West to make a fuss about his video.
The man on the street agreed: the reason the O’Reilly video reported not seeing any Key West police around was because the police were off searching for homeless people to arrest.
The man on the street agreed: the O’Reilly video already is viral all over the world and if Key West does what you recommend, it will become viral all over the galaxy. We wondered if the video would cause cruise ships to seek greener pastures? We hoped so.
Did you check out this great Key West publicity yet today? Be sure to open the link so you can watch the video and compare it to witness statements made to the contrary. Somebodies lied, it don’t look like it’s the video. The statement the police had to sign also is interesting. Sounded like all the on duty city police joined in the chase.
* FEATURED STORY *
POLICE DENY RESPONSIBILITY IN DEATH OF TOURIST, THANKSGIVING DAY
BY ARNAUD AND NAJA GIRARD
“Eimers exited the car and began actively fighting.” [Officer Lovette, KWPD]
Within a few minutes the man in the video above [Charles John Eimers] would be dead. According to official reports, no tasers were fired, Eimers (61) worked himself into a heart attack while fighting police officers. However, according to eyewitnesses, Eimers was tased until dead. Reportedly in the words of one eyewitness, a police officer from New York, it was “legalized murder on the beach.”
The video stops before showing Eimers going ‘limp’ and it doesn’t conclusively show whether tasers were used or not.
So what happened?
The story began a few miles away from that fatal beach, on Thanksgiving Day, at around 8:20 a.m. Eimers, who was driving his PT Cruiser westbound on North Roosevelt Boulevard, allegedly used the left turn lane to pass officer Gary Celcer’s police car. Celcer activated his siren and Eimers immediately stopped across from Pizza Hut near the intersection of Roosevelt and Kennedy Drive. Eimers handed his driver’s license to Celcer who noticed ‘the interior of the car to be very disheveled and possibly that Eimers has been living out of the vehicle.”
Then, for reasons unknown, while Celcer was running Eimers’ license, Eimers backed out of the spot, got back onto the road and began driving toward downtown. Celcer followed in pursuit but the PT Cruiser was passing cars using the center lane and Celcer prudently decided to “discontinue actively trying to stop Eimers”. He “turned off [his] siren and emergency lights” and he called for back-up.
At that point it seems as though every police car on duty joined in the pursuit of Eimers’ PT Cruiser. Patrol cars were reportedly driving carefully (stopping at traffic lights), but at least one car spotted by a witness was reportedly going an estimated 50 mph on Duval Street.
Eimers was spotted by Officer Kathyann Wanciak at the intersection of Amelia and Duval “smoking a cigarette with his left hand and driving with his right hand.”
At the end of Duval Street Eimers’ PT Cruiser turned into South Beach, made a slow u-turn onto the sand and stopped on the beach. It was around 8:30 am.
In spite of officer Lovette’s claim that Eimers immediately began fighting with officers, the video [above] obtained by The Blue Paper shows Eimers calmly walking out of his car. Three police officers move into the frame with guns drawn. Wanciak orders Eimers to get on the ground, which he does. The film shows Eimers being hand-cuffed, but suddenly he starts kicking his legs. What happened? Did he change his mind again about following police directives?
Well, maybe not. One account might provide an explanation: While officers were cuffing Eimers’ left hand [and we’re not making this up] officer Garrido somehow got his finger stuck in the handcuff. Garrido was screaming in pain for other officers to come to his rescue. Perhaps that was the same moment that Eimers, finding himself in the same painful predicament, began kicking his feet in protest.
What happened after that remains a mystery. What is certain is that, within less than 5 minutes, Eimers stopped breathing and turned “blue in the face”. He was later pronounced dead.
Police tasers have gained an infamous reputation for causing cardiac arrest – specifically when used against elderly persons. Eimers was 61. The police department assured us that no tasers were used. However, the report written by officer Wanciak mentions Officer Lovette’s taser, which was “placed on the back of the subject”. She doesn’t say whether the taser was fired and unfortunately Wanciak was no longer present when Eimers lost consciousness; she had just gone back to her patrol car – parked on Duval Street.
There are also the many other ‘incident reports’ written by the numerous male police officers who took part, however they are extraordinarily brief and they all begin with this statement: “On December 2, 2013, I was ordered to write the following report regarding an incident that took place on November 28, 2013 (Thanksgiving Day) in the City of Key West. It is my understanding that by refusing to obey the order to write this report that I can be disciplined for insubordination and that the punishment for insubordination and [sic] be up to and including termination of employment. This report is made only pursuant to such orders and that potential punishment/discipline that can result for failure to obey that order.”
In his report, Officer Lovette never mentions having drawn his taser as Wanciak contends.
“They tased him in the neck,” says one server who asked not to be identified, and after that he didn’t move – he was out. Then they rolled him over and started compression.”
“I was about 30 feet away,” says another, “I saw him [a police officer] taser him [Eimers]. He didn’t lift the taser from his chest. I could see his legs jerking when they were tasing him… it lasted a good 6 minutes… The female cop was not involved in all that.”
The city, however, purchased state of the art tasers three years ago, equipped with an audio/video recording system that is triggered whenever the taser is deployed.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) is currently investigating the death of Charles Eimers and is actively searching for a tourist who claimed to be a New York police officer and who could be a very important witness. This particular witness was quoted as saying that the whole thing was an obvious use of excessive force and that the suspect was already under control, “I have never seen this done to an elderly man…”. He reportedly argued with the Key West police officers and was threatened with arrest.
So, who to believe?
Could the witnesses have confused the defibrillator (Automated External Defibrillator – AED) that police used to try to resuscitate Eimers with a taser gun? Not so says one witness, “The defibrillator was provided by the restaurant [Southernmost Beach Café] and the police officer was using the taser before we gave them the AED.”
There is even uncertainty as to whether the AED was in fact used to administer shock treatment at all. Officer Gary Celcer notes in his account that the AED analyzed Eimers and reported, “no shock was advised”. Standard AED devices block the delivery of shock when the device recommends against it. A manual override is an option, but is recommended for use by trained emergency medical personnel only.
Key West Police may have had the misfortune of dealing with a man in bad health who, due to his own failure to follow directions, gave himself a heart attack or here was a man presumed to “be living out of his car” who was giving the police a hard time – Could someone in the force have tried to teach him a lesson with a few blasts of a taser gun?
As of press time we are following more leads including eyewitness accounts, photographs, and at least one more video: In the video we published above, a man is observed recording the scene with his phone. There is also a witness on a bicycle. If anyone knows the identity of the persons shown in the video or has any other information about this incident or Charles Eimers who was from Michigan please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wonder of wonders, I haven’t talked with anyone who saw that story covered in the Key West Citizen. The man on the street and I concurred: the dead tourist story is an invitation for Bill O’Reilly to do a second Key West documentary. Maybe he will spend some time in the Duval Street strip joints and learn all about KWPD officers trafficking narcotics therein.
The man on the street and I concluded the Key West Citizen and the KWPD must be in collusion. There is no other explanation for the dead tourist story not making the front page the day after it happened, or the day after that, or the day after that …
Of course, the Citizen had plenty to say today about O’Reilly’s video, in which nobody got killed:
Fox News outrages locals, leaders
Fictional New Yorker article also unflattering about island
BY GWEN FILOSA Citizen Staff
City leaders on Thursday were divided over whether to send a formal response to the Fox News network over a recent segment that mocked Key West as a haven for low-rent drunks who can’t identify Vice President Joe Biden.
Host Bill O’Reilly also concludes in the show that Key West is no place for families to vacation.
“People on vacation with kids?” O’Reilly asks. “No. You go to Islamorada, Key Largo, fine.”
In a piece only four minutes and 43 seconds long, Fox correspondent Jesse Watters, a regular on “The O’Reilly Factor,” interviews several purported locals about life on the far-flung tropical island.
“Hookers and blow,” says one visor-wearing man when asked what Key West residents do for fun. Another man readily admits to scamming his food stamp card for cash to buy vodka and cigarettes and asks, “What’s that?” when Watters brings up Obamacare.
But city leaders say they don’t know anyone who is laughing.
“It’s kind of a cheap shot,” said city Commissioner Billy Wardlow.
“There are too many good people in this town that work very hard to keep this town afloat.”
Wardlow has asked City Manager Bob Vitas to prepare a letter to present to the commission, which doesn’t meet again until January. The commissioners could sign something in the interim, Wardlow suggested.
But although he was among the first in Key West to post his disgust for the piece on his Facebook page, city Commissioner Tony Yaniz on Thursday asked locals to post their favorite memories about Key West and put the Fox slam behind them.
Key West High School senior Brock Guzman, however, plans to make a video response to the Fox piece that includes interviews with locals such as Mayor Craig Cates, whose recorded segment was excluded from Watters’ final piece.
“While both insulting and embarrassing, the video also conveys false information that will easily hurt the reputation of Key West,” Guzman said in an email to the mayor.
“The good that came out of this show is how our community came together to defend our reputation and show their pride,” said Cates, who recalled watching “Watters’ World” live Monday night only to be stunned by its direction.
“They don’t have telephones, the Internet, they don’t even have bank accounts,” Watters tells O’Reilly while laughing. “They’re running from the law most of the time. I didn’t see one police officer.”
Cates bashed the segment on his Facebook page. “They found the roughest and drunkest people to interview and led them on to say what they wanted. They interviewed myself and others that were normal but didn’t choose to use that footage.”
But by Wednesday, the mayor was saying that perhaps the city shouldn’t formally respond.
That’s what the Monroe County Tourist Development Council (TDC) decided after leaders held some meetings and made some calls for counsel to those in the tourism industry outside the Florida Keys.
“We’ve seen it, we’ve chosen not to react to it,” said TDC Executive Director Harold Wheeler.
“The question is: Do we think that the segment will have a negative impact on tourism to Key West? We do not believe that it will do any harm.”
Wheeler said he was familiar with the show.
“It’s obviously intended to be humorous and pick out certain issues that have been in the news,” he said. “They always get that Joe Biden question.”
The “O’Reilly Factor” edition opens with O’Reilly describing Key West as “the end of the USA in more ways than one, a notorious outlaw town.”
Watters folds in clips from movies like “Animal House” and “The Breakfast Club” and a scolding Tony from “The Sopranos,” presenting the segment as shtick.
O’Reilly said after the segment that he has been visiting Key West since 1971.
“I go down there undercover, though,” he said, adding that no one in Key West knows him because they don’t watch television.
Watters sums up his Key West findings with an analogy he just learned: “If you shake the country, all the sediment winds up in Florida,” he tells O’Reilly. “And then if you shake Florida, the rest of the mess goes to Key West.”
Wardlow said: “Some say it’s tongue-in-cheek, but this is our community. I don’t think we deserve that kind of publicity.”
Another longtime city leader said Key West should shake it off and move on.
“Let it die. What are you going to respond to?” said Virginia Panico, executive vice president of the Key West Chamber of Commerce.
“It happens to everybody. You can’t control the press. Take your shot and move on.”
Panico said she talked with Watters at the chamber’s holiday party while he was in town.
“He loved Key West and said he was going to come on vacation with his wife and two little children,” Panico said. “I think he better come in disguise.”
Other locals declared the Fox segment political fodder, and they said Key West’s reputation was just collateral damage in the war on the poor.
“It has absolutely nothing to do with Key West,” said John Martini, a sculptor who also used his Facebook page to respond to the piece.
“The Republicans want to cut food stamps and they already have. It has to do with keeping the right wing excited about food stamps. They want to eliminate the safety net entirely.”
On the other end of the publishing spectrum, another national outlet with a widely different demographic than Fox News unleashed another sting to Key West, although via a work of fiction.
Also released on Monday, The New Yorker magazine published a short story depicting a circle of Key Westers in an unflattering light.
“The Late Novels of Gene Hackman,” was written by Rivka Galchen, a 2012 panelist at the annual Key West Literary Seminar.
“… the locals were relatively unfit. And a little flushed in the face. Like alcoholics.”
“J,” the protagonist, a writer visiting Key West as a guest of a conference, also notes that “locals are called Bubbas,” and that everyone seemed to feel superior to them.
“And I think for a time, supposedly, this was a fashionable town,” J tells her stepmother, Q. “Artists and gay people.”
If I wuz you, Tim, I’d be thinking about moving to Syria, whose reputation is shot and cannot be ruined, so there is nothing to protect. But then, you already live in a city, whose reputation is shot. As far back as I almost can remember, Key West was known as a town of outlaws and drunks and sex.
All those things you hate about sex trafficking on the US mainland and overseas are happening right here in Key West, on Duval Street. I heard all about that from the exotic dancer I gave a ride on US 1 day before yesterday. You would have loved how she described the way those “clubs” treat their dancers. Dancing is just the bait, Tim, if you get my drift.
P.S. this morning
Finally, the Key West Citizen springs into action, today …
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating the death of a 61-year-old man who local police say lost consciousness and “turned blue” as several Key West officers struggled to subdue him Thanksgiving morning on the beach off Duval Street.
Charles John Eimers died Dec. 4 after being taken to Lower Keys Medical Center six days earlier, according to police spokeswoman Alyson Crean.
Eimers never regained consciousness and was pronounced dead, Crean said.
“Doctors indicated when the medics took him to the hospital the man had severe heart problems,” said Crean. “It’s being treated as a death in custody because he collapsed. His heart stopped and he turned blue.”
Crean said the officers followed standard operating procedure when trying to arrest an unwilling suspect, and that no disciplinary action has been taken pending the results of the FDLE investigation.
“He was resisting; he collapsed and turned blue and they went to life support,” Crean said.
You really should see Key West’s the Newspaper’s video, Alyson. You really should see it.
In the police reports filed by the various officers involved, the case was listed as a criminal traffic offense that began in New Town.
One officer mentions another officer brandishing his Taser stun gun and placing it on the suspect’s back. But no Tasers were employed, said Crean, who explained that each stun gun is outfitted with video and audio that automatically kicks in when the weapon is activated.
Eimers has no criminal history in Monroe County, according to the online database of the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office and the clerk of court’s office.
His driver’s license listed a home address in Birch Run, Mich., but an officer said Eimers appeared to be living in his car.
In 2002, he was jailed for about a week in Walton County, but was never charged with any crime. The arrest record available Friday listed no specific charge, only a mug shot of a disheveled Eimers.
Efforts to reach relatives in Michigan were unsuccessful Friday.
Eimers led police on a car chase from North Roosevelt Boulevard through downtown Key West and into the sand around the palm trees on the beach before stopping, according to reports.
The chase started when Eimers hit the gas pedal on his silver 2002 P.T. Cruiser after being pulled over at 8:18 a.m. for allegedly changing lanes in the middle of an intersection in the 3000 block of North Roosevelt.
“Eimers said something along the lines of doing the work for God and trying to save lives,” Officer Gary Celcer wrote in the original police report filed Nov. 28.
Eimers said he had no proof of insurance or car registration, said Celcer, who told the suspect to wait in his car while he walked back to the patrol car.
That’s when Celcer saw the P.T. Cruiser’s brake lights flash red as Eimers take off, reportedly running at least one red light at First Street and passing cars via the turn lane.
In the incident reports turned in by 11 separate officers who witnessed or took part in the attempted arrest of Eimers on Thanksgiving Day, Eimers is painted as the aggressor who required several officers to hold him down.
South Beach, outside the Southernmost Beach Cafe, 1405 Duval St., is where Celcer caught up with Eimers, who was chased down by several officers who had heard Celcer’s radio call for help.
“I saw Eimers laying supine on the beach,” Celcer wrote in his report. “I noted his head to be blue in color.”
Even handcuffed, Eimers would not stop resisting, police said. They described him as being pressed face down into the sand with one officer’s knee pressed into his shoulder while three others worked to stop his legs and upper body from moving.
Officers said the moment they noticed Eimers wasn’t breathing, his body having gone limp, they “immediately” removed all restraints, including a leg restraint strap called a Hobble, and began CPR.
Police were helped by the manager of the Southernmost Cafe, who asked if they wanted to use the restaurant’s defibrillator.
“Yes,” Officer Kathyann Wanciak said she replied.
Officers used the automated external defibrillator (AED) on Eimers’ chest as paramedics were called.
“It is an active investigation,” said Carol Frederick, FDLE resident agent in charge assigned to the agency’s Key West office, on Friday. “It’s routine.”
Watch Key West the Newspaper’s video, Carol.
FDLE, as an outside, independent agency, investigates all deaths in police custody, said Crean.
The inquiry began Nov. 28, said Frederick, who would not answer questions about the time of Eimers’ death or his arrival at the hospital, citing federal health confidentiality laws.
Lower Keys Medical Center also would not answer questions about Eimers.
“That is private health information and I can’t release those details,” said hospital spokesman Randy Detrick on Friday.
The county medical examiner, Dr. E. Hunt Scheuerman, said Friday that an autopsy had been performed, but because the case is under FDLE investigation it is “currently excluded from public records.”
Scheuerman said results may be available in a few weeks.
For now, the only public records made available depict officers struggling with a suspect who was resisting arrest until he went limp, police said.
“As officers lifted the subject up to his feet, he became unresponsive,” Officer Henry Del Valle wrote in a Nov. 28 report. “I observed the subject’s face turn blue.”
This is not in Key West the Newspaper’s video, it could have occurred after the video ran out.
Eimers had no pulse, Del Valle said.
“I immediately began administering life-saving chest compressions while Officer Celcer ventilated the subject via a bag valve mask,” Del Valle wrote.
Wallis used the AED on Eimers until firefighters and paramedics arrived to take over CPR, Del Valle said.
Eimers was taken to Lower Keys Medical Center.
“During our contact with this subject, his airway remained unobstructed,” Del Valle said.
use of ‘Hobble’
“Several officers had the suspect down on his stomach on the sand,” Officer Matthew Johnson wrote in a Nov. 28 report. “I approached the suspect’s feet and attempted to get the Hobble around his legs.”
Other officers held Eimers’ legs, Johnson wrote.
Sgt. Frank Zamora also helped keep Eimers on the sand.
In Key West the Newspaper’s video, Eimers put himself face down on the sand before the officers with drawn guns reached him.
Eimers continued to struggle, despite orders from officers, wrote Officer Gustavo Medina.
I saw no sign of Eimers struggling in the video.
On the ground, Eimers wouldn’t give up so officers could handcuff him, Officer Gabriel Garrido reported Dec. 2. As a result of the suspect’s resistance, Garrido wrote, “the tip of one of my fingers got stuck in between the cuff and the suspect’s wrist.”
Looked to me in the video that Eimers gave up before the officers with guns drawn reached him.
Eimers pushed and pulled, trapping Garrido’s finger for several seconds, he recalled, during which the officer said he was “experiencing great pain.”
Medina said he spotted the officer in pain.
“I assisted in securing [Eimers'] hands and clearing Officer Garrido’s hands from the handcuffs, which he had stuck due to [Eimers'] resistance,” Medina wrote.
Watch Key West the Newspaper’s video to see Eimer’s alleged resistance.
Zamora and Garrido said they worked on controlling Eimers’ upper body while other officers “began attempting to secure his legs,” Garrido reported.
Eimers kept “kicking up” at officers, said Officer Nicholas Galbo, who reported that he held Eimers’ legs down.
Watch Key West the Newspaper’s video to see Eimer’s alledged kicking up on the officers, as he lay face down on the sand.
That is when Eimers reportedly went limp, still face down in the sand.
“I assisted by holding the subject down by placing my right knee on his left shoulder,” Zamora wrote in a Dec. 2 report. “I noticed a little bit of blood behind the subject’s right ear as [he] faced away from me as he was being handcuffed.”
Zamora was the one to alert the group of officers that their suspect had lost consciousness.
“He’s out! He’s out!” Zamora yelled, according to Wanciak’s Nov. 28 report. “Get them off. Get the handcuffs off.”
Zamora said he then tried to lift the handcuffed Eimers, only to notice “he stopped moving. I immediately removed the handcuffs and flipped him over.”
Several officers, in their respective follow-up reports, described Eimers as appearing in dire shape quite suddenly.
“I saw that the suspect began turning blue and another officer said, ‘Get the cuffs off of him and ask for rescue,’” Officer Thaddeus Calvert wrote in a Dec. 2 report.
Galbo said he began checking Eimers’ pants pockets and denim jacket for “any type of medication or narcotic” in order to help administer first aid.
“The suspect was then flipped over and the other officers began to do CPR,” Johnson wrote. “I backed away from the suspect to give the CPR officers space.”
After Eimers was taken to the hospital, police has his P.T. Cruiser towed.
Witness: Police were professional
One witness reached Friday said he watched Key West police take care of the situation professionally and could not imagine any wrongdoing.
“They were not pursuing him; this was not a mad chase,” said Jim Burton of Mobile, Ala., who was vacationing in Key West that week. “They were flushing him out, riding him parallel.”
Burton was with his partner, Lesley Charlene Knotts, driving downtown when the silver P.T. Cruiser came by, followed in succession by two police cars with their lights on but sirens off.
“It’s a wonder he didn’t hit anybody,” said Burton on Friday. He wasn’t aware that Eimers had died.
“We saw him make a right at the end of the area,” said Burton. “It looked like the last street.”
But suddenly, the P.T. Cruiser made a U-turn and headed straight for Burton’s car.
“We pulled over. We could see him — he had a cigarette in his hand,” Burton said. “This guy turned around and was coming directly at us.”
Key West police didn’t try to block the streets, but rather worked to corner Eimers by heading down parallel and cross streets, said the witness.
Eimers wouldn’t stop, but he wasn’t driving erratically or at a high rate of speed, Burton recalled.
Having lost sight of the P.T. Cruiser, Burton said he and Knotts decided to check out the beach scene.
“We walked up and there’s a lot of activity,” Burton said. “We were walking around the corner when we saw all the police cars there at the end of Duval Street.
“I said, ‘Oh, looks like he outfoxed himself.’ When we arrived, the first thing we saw, he was on the ground being treated by paramedics. He was in the sand and [paramedics] were working on him.”
Burton said he asked police if the driver had been shot and they said no.
Protect and serve? The result of one of Key West’s finest deciding an unknown suspect driving a PT Cruiser might be living in it? Watch Key West the Newspaper’s video. Decide for yourself if the video lied, or somebodies else did.