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In yesterday’s manure-shoveling and soul-fishing in “paradise” – Florida Keys, Key West, and beyond … post at this website, I touted Linda Rushin and her husband’s 107.1 FM radio station as being committed to public service, and said it was only barely breaking even. Linda then wrote to me:
“Thanks, Sloan. We are doing better than breaking even!”
Recent Facebook chat prompted by my remarks during citizen comments to the city commissioners and mayor the night before in Old City Hall:
Conversation started Thursday
Did the commissioners voice any opinion at all regarding Charles Eimers? I couldn’t be there as my daughter is very ill, but I am very wrapped up in this case. Thank you for speaking out.
No, but some of them appeared to hear me more than others. I did not expect them to say anything, but I wish they had. The Key West Citizen report today on the “progress” of the Eimers investigation is not particularly encouraging, but probably is about what could be expected.
Sorry to hear your daughter is very ill, hope that’s only temporary and she makes a good recovery. You were where you needed to be – with her.
From webMD: “Flail chest is a serious problem that happens when three or more ribs are broken in more than one place. If you have flail chest, the broken area can’t hold its shape when you take a breath. This leaves less space in your chest for your lungs to open and air to flow in. It also makes it harder for the muscles to work well, so it’s harder to take a breath.”
Just wondering if Mr. Eimers had already suffered the broken ribs while prone in the sand under the brutality and weight of 2 police officers? Flail chest occurs when 3 or more ribs are broken? How about 10? Could that have contributed to him smothering to death? Police brutality. It will be interesting to see if there was related damage to any of his other organs, ie. spleen, lungs, etc.
I’m not a medical doctor, nor a paramedic, nor do I have experience in broken ribs or life-saving technology. 10 seems to me like a lot of broken ribs. However, in the video published by Key West the Newspaper – www.thebluepaper.com – it appears Eimers started struggling right after the officers were on top of him trying to handcuff him. Before that, he was docile, following the officers’ orders, apparently. What caused him to suddenly start struggling, then? Could it have been he no longer could breath because his nose and mouth were in the sand and no air was getting into his lungs?
I found myself thinking later yesterday and again last night that, if I were KW Police Chief Donie Lee,
and my officers did not voluntarily, each of them, say what happened which they personally saw, or heard from other officers, I would put those officers on administrative leave without pay until they did say what they knew, and if my bosses in the city, or a judge, told me I could not do that, then I would resign. I would not let myself in anyway be made to look like I was in on the wall of silence.
The other day, I was in the Porter Place housing project, operated by the Housing Authority, to see a friend with whom I play chess. Leaving his place, I saw a fellow come out of the Housing Authority office nearby, and I pedaled my bike to catch up with him. I told him who I was and that my friend Naja Girard,
who publishes Key West the Newspaper now, and I, had been told a man, first name Dustin, who lived in Porter Place, we were told, had been on South Beach and had seen the apprehension of Charles Eimers, and Naja would like to get word to Dustin that she would like to talk with him about what he saw. I asked the man if there was a way the Housing Authority could run a first name search, see if they had a Dustin at Porter Place, and pass that information on to him. The man became immediately angry, said they do not give out information on their residents. I said I understood, and was not asking for any information. Only, for the message to be passed along, if they had a Dustin living at Porter Place. The man got even angrier, told me to call the Housing Authority main office, and stormed away.
I wondered what that was about? Would he, and anyone living in Key West, want to get to the bottom of what happened to Charles Eimers? Did that man have a child or relative or friend working in KWPD was my next thought? Was that child or friend or relative one of the officers involved in the Eimers incident, was my next thought?
[Again, here is a link – video – which should get you to the video of the apprehension of Charles Eimers, who was suspected of being homeless, which was his fatal undoing (and he was not homeless) – video
The Key West Citizen article:
Friday, February 21, 2014
Officers interviewed regarding death
FDLE investigation prevents KWPD, Vogel from talking about case
BY ADAM LINHARDT Citizen Staff
State investigators interviewed members of the Key West Police Department Wednesday in connection with the death of a 61-year-old Michigan man who died in police custody Dec. 4 after a Thanksgiving Day traffic stop, according to an attorney representing his family.
Key West-based lawyer David Paul Horan said the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) interviewed several officers with a police union lawyer present.
The FDLE could not confirm the interviews took place Thursday or otherwise comment as the agency does not speak about pending investigations, said spokeswoman Gretl Plessinger.
Nor could Key West police comment on the investigation, said spokeswoman Alyson Crean, who also cited the ongoing case. Monroe County State Attorney Catherine Vogel declined to comment for the same reasons.
Messages left with the Miami-Dade Police Benevolent Association, the union that represents Key West police officers, were not returned.
“We sent the FDLE some names and witness contacts,” Horan said, referring to the interviews. “It’s my understanding they took place yesterday (Wednesday) because the police union lawyer had to come down.”
There has been no internal affairs investigation into any officers regarding Eimers’ death as that would only take place following the FDLE investigation, Crean said.
“There is nothing we can do internally until after the FDLE have made their findings regarding their criminal investigation,” Crean said.
Meanwhile, Eimers’ family is currently working on forming an estate, which would allow one of Eimers’ grown children to be the personal representative of that estate. That move typically allows the representative of an estate access to medical records that would otherwise be sealed under federal privacy laws, Horan said.
And those records may shed light into whether the family will pursue civil litigation against the police department or the city of Key West, Horan said.
“Whether the four grown children of Charles Eimers decide to go forward with civil litigation remains under review by them,” Horan said. “That will be a decision the family will make.”
Eimers was pulled over in New Town early Thanksgiving morning for reportedly switching lanes illegally. He took off in his silver P.T. Cruiser for unknown reasons while the patrol officer was checking his license and registration.
Eimers drove to the island’s edge, leading police on a slow-paced chase through Bahama Village, before stopping his car on the sand outside the Southernmost Beach Cafe.
Eleven officers converged at the scene. Eimers was held facedown on South Beach, at the end of Duval Street, by four patrolmen, according police reports. All four later said the suspect was resisting arrest.
Police reports said Eimers turned blue once he was planted facedown in the sand by officers. He subsequently suffered 10 broken ribs during “medical therapy” during the stop that included the use of a defibrillator, according to a preliminary autopsy report released last week.
Broken ribs are often the result of undergoing CPR, said Monroe County Medical Examiner Dr. E. Hunt Scheuerman, who added that he was speaking generally and not about this specific case.
The five pages titled “Autopsy Report” are the first records released since Eimers’ death other than the original police reports. The autopsy was conducted Dec. 12.
The rib fractures — “the anterior aspects of the right second through seventh, and left second through fifth ribs,” the report said — are listed under the category that describes the evidence of medical treatment. It only describes the medical details of Eimers’ corpse, eight days after his death.
The FDLE approved the release of the autopsy report by Scheuerman in response to a request by Horan.
Until FDLE completes its probe, the rest of the autopsy report, and any medical opinions of the cause of death, will remain sealed.
While that truly important case slogs, another critical crime situation gained some support:
Saturday, February 22, 2014
‘Spring Break Court’ returns for booze violators
BY GWEN FILOSA Citizen Staff
After his colleagues on the city commission and county leaders showed no interest in bringing back “Spring Break Court” for a few weeks in March, Tony Yaniz kept making calls. On Friday, he announced the program would return starting in March.
The diversion program for young men and women busted for illegal alcohol use will be hosted by State Attorney Catherine Vogel, Sheriff Rick Ramsay, Police Chief Donie Lee, local judges, and city staff.
Rather than pay fines or face jail time for violating city laws against drinking in public, spring breakers can agree to don orange jail-issued scrub tops and clean up beaches,
“We end up having a workforce that can clean the beach during the daytime,” said Yaniz.
Key West and the county courts operated the diversion program from about 1999 to 2007.
“It was pretty successful,” Ramsay said of the program. “Then the Keys weren’t as popular for spring breakers. The numbers were low, and it wasn’t worthwhile.”
Yaniz said teen drinking arrests fell in Key West but not because they weren’t drinking.
“Cops don’t want to make an arrest that will give a young person a record for life,” Yaniz said. “I think it’s a good thing.”
Violating the city’s open container law, which forbids drinking alcohol in public, can carry up to 60 days in jail or a fine of up to $500.
County commissioners said Wednesday agreed there was no reason to bring back “Spring Break Court.”
Several spoke from experience, recalling it sopped up time and energy from staff, and exposed the county to worker’s compensation claims or other liability.
“When it went away, I don’t know anybody that was sorry it went away, including the court,” said Commissioner Danny Kohlage, the former clerk of court. “We had a lot of difficulty with this.”
Commissioner Heather Carruthers asked why tourists should get a break and not “local kids.”
Ramsay, though, likes the idea. “It helps them fly straight and narrow. The city asked me for help. I want to try to do my part.”
The sheriff’s part includes providing a van or two to transport any college student offenders, uniforms for them to wear, and their lunches.
Dang, Sheriff, what’s wrong with the city providing their own police officers and vans and uniforms and lunches? It’s the city’s crusade, isn’t it? Let the city pay for it. Or, let Tony Yaniz pay for it. It’s his idea. Now if it was to be applied to local kids, too, that would be a different story, don’t you think? And, if Yaniz is not already on the wagon, he should be put on the wagon, and, in the interest of being a sober role model for Key West and other kids, stay on the wagon until death do he and the wagon part.
City staffers will take a two-hour course from the sheriff’s ofice on all related rules and regulations, Ramsay said.
But county officials said “Spring Break Court” isn’t as simple as it sounds to pull off.
Kevin Wilson, senior director of the county’s public works department, told commissioners there wasn’t enough time to put together a program that would run smoothly. He said he received an informal request from the city to help recreate “Spring Break Court,” setting it up in only a couple of weeks.
The program ended in 2007 because the benefits outweighed the costs and efforts, Wilson said. Students have to be driven around to worksites, and instructed on what to do.
“What we typically get the next morning are people who have flip flops on and shorts and aren’t in shape to do much work for us,” Wilson said. “They’re limited to raking seaweed off boat ramps and such. Back when we last did it, we had a much larger staff.”
Just my thinking, they ought to deputize Yaniz and make him patrol the beaches 8 hours a day throughout all the different spring break weeks. Alternatively, 8 hours a day, for the duration, he can supervise the hungover springbreakers doing their public service penance.
In the next-previous issue of the Keynoter:
Big Pine’s Coll running for County Commission in District 2, incumbent Neugent considers a fifth run
BY KEVIN WADLOW
email@example.comFebruary 19, 2014
A potential Republican primary election could be taking shape in this year’s Monroe County Commission races.
A Lower Keys businessman on Friday became the first declared candidate for the County Commission’s 2014 elections.
Danny Coll, 55, of Cudjoe Key will seek election to the District 2 seat now held by George Neugent.
“My track record shows I’ve always been involved in the community,” said Coll, incoming president of the Lower Keys Rotary and a past president of the Big Pine Key Volunteer Fire Department.
Neugent and Coll are both Republicans. Neugent, a three-term incumbent, said Tuesday he has not decided whether to seek re-election.
After his election in 2010, Neugent said he did not then expect to run for a fifth four-year term.
“I did say that and it’s on the record,” Neugent said. “And there is a distinct possibility that I will not run.”
Neugent said health issues within his family “will be the determining factor” on whether he files for re-election. “We’re [discussing] those things now.”
Candidates have until June 20 to formally qualify for the ballot, Monroe County Elections Supervisor Joyce Griffin said.
Coll described himself as semi-retired, having sold his NAPA Auto Parts store on Big Pine Key and a private ambulance company he founded. A licensed paramedic, he teaches certification courses in advanced and basic cardiovascular life support at Lower Keys Medical Center.
He ran against Neugent in the 2010 primary as a “political newcomer.”
“I will listen to [voters] and act with common sense on the issues,” Coll said in his candidate announcement.
Coll said he wants to work to limit flood-insurance rate hikes that could prove “catastrophic for thousands of Keys homeowners.”
He said his decades of business experience will be useful in considering potential alternatives like a self-insurance pool. “Congress is doing nothing and we just can’t sit and wait for them,” Coll said.
Canal restoration and balancing property rights with conservation needs are other issues of concern Coll cited.
The other Monroe County Commission seat open for election this year is in the Middle Keys’ District 4. David Rice is the incumbent.
The 2014 primary elections are scheduled Aug. 26. Voter registration for the August election ends July 28. The general election is Nov. 4.
Sloan Bashinsky · Janitor at God, Inc. February 22, 2014
The Independent candidate in the 2010 District 2 County Commission race, I was trounced by George Neugent in the general election, after he beat Danny Coll in the Republican Primary. I was sharply criticized for entering that race at the last moment, which closed the Republican Primary to only registered Republicans. I have heard, and I told George, if I had not entered the race, he would have been unseated by Danny. George said he did not believe me; he did not believe he would have lost that many Independent and Democrat votes, if they had been allowed to vote in the Republican Primary. I believe he would have lost to Danny, but we’ll never know. George did say that was his last race as a county commissioner, I heard him say it. His campaign slogan that year was “Promises Made, Promises Kept.”
During his race against George, Danny had several letters to the editor published in the Key West Citizen. I know some of those letters, if not all, were written by Tim Gratz, who was Danny’s campaign manager. I know, because Tim told me, and I told Danny he needed to write his own letters to the editor. I said he would not be able to take time outs at county commission meetings to consult with Tim, before he voted on agenda items. Maybe three weeks ago, Danny had a letter to the editor [Key West Citizen] arguing for term limits in national and state elections, with which I agreed, but I wondered if the real target of that letter was George Neugent, and I wonder if Danny himself wrote it? Tim Gratz told me he is not involved with Danny this year, and had nothing to do with that letter.
Before Danny ran against George in 2010, I never saw him at a county commission meeting, or at any other kind of local government or quasi-government meetingl Nor have I since seen Danny at any such meetings. I don’t attend them all, so perhaps he has attended county commission meetings since 2010. His campaign comments seem politically safe, however, just my opinion, the quality of Keys waters and the safety of those waters to human beings and marine life trumps development and property rights. That always was my position, the two times I ran against George Neugent – the other time was 2006. I said many times the Keys are way over-developed and there should be no new development, period, the end. The over-development came home to roost in the horrendous Keys real estate market crash after Hurricane Wilma.
George Neugent led the charge to provide an environmentally dangerous sewerage system in the Cudjoe Regional Sewer District. Interested citizens should check out www.dumpthepumps.com, with which I am not affiliated. Interested citizens also should question Danny Coll about his sympathies toward normalization of US-Cuban relations. Danny is Cuban. In 2010, he and Tim Gratz were tightly-aligned with Lleana Ross-Leithman (spelling?), who, as I understood, totally opposed normalization of US-Cuban relations as long as the Castros were in power, and perhaps until Cuban-ex pats living in USA were in power. Normalization of US-Cuban relations is favored by many people in the lower Keys and Key West; I don’t know about Marathon and above sentiments on that topic.
1711 Seminary Street
As if something was in the wind, this letter to the editor in today’s Key West Citizen, triggered by three Cubans fleeing from Cuba to the Keys on windsurfers, the last immigrant saved at sea by the US Coast Guard yesterday:
Saturday, February 22, 2014
Recent Today in History jogs memory of Cuba story
There is an interesting story behind the news report that on Feb. 21, 1963, Fidel Castro met four Cuban boats that had carried 30 Cuban fisherman that had been held in the Monroe County Jail for over 30 days after they had been captured in U.S waters. (“Today in Key West History, Feb 21.)
Customs feared the fishermen might be Cuban spies. After repeated Cuban demands that the fisherman be released were rebuffed, Castro without notice cut off the water to Guantanamo Bay, a drastic action he had not taken even in response to the Bay of Pigs invasion, or during the Cuban missile crisis.
But three days later, he turned it back on again.
But Castro did not realize the temperament of the base commander Rear Admiral John D. Bulkeley, who had been appointed by JFK only months before the assassination.
Bulkeley wanted to show Castro who was boss, so he ordered the waterline cut. The base was then left with only a 10-day supply of water and rationing was immediate. An oil tanker was soon commissioned to run water down from Fort Lauderdale.
Bulkeley’s action led to the development of a water desalination plant for the base.
A test desalination unit in San Diego was dismantled and shipped to Guantanamo in pieces. It was put back together and was fully operational by July 1964.
There is an interesting reason why JFK may have appointed Bulkeley as Guantanamo base commander. Bulkeley had been the commander of all the Navy P.T. boats in World War II, and it was he who evacuated General Douglas MacArthur from the Philippines on one of his P.T. boats.
One author reports that Bulkeley intervened to get young JFK the coveted position as a P.T. boat commander after a plea to Bulkeley by JFK’s father, Joseph, the former ambassador to the Court of St. James. It was JFK’s heroics on P.T. 109 that helped launch his political career. The movie “P.T. 109” was filmed on Munson Island, later developed as Little Palm Island.
Little Palm Island, across from Little Torch Key, is where movie stars and other super rich folks vacation. In a letter to the editor in the Key West Citizen, in 2010, Tim accused me of being racially prejudiced against Hispanic people. My Hispanic friends laughed.
Perhaps this in yesterday from Kurt Wagner sums all of the above up pretty well:
A short poem by Kurt Wagner that took ten minutes.
Shit pumps and yard waste
where do we dump?
Coral reef, dying reef,
let’s have bigger ships, oh good grief!
Outer Mole, Outer Mole,
it’s throwing money down a hole.
Noisy churches, loud bars,
loud bikes and motor cars.
Filthy water, filthy beach,
how far does fecal matter reach?
Truman Park, Truman Park,
the city commission thinks it’s a lark.
Cruise ship, cruise ship,
is the city commission joined at the hip?
Trolleys and trains, trolleys and trains,
does the city commission have any brains?
Tourist bucks, tourist bucks,
the elite and commission haul it home in trucks.
Drink too much and act like an ass,
if you’re a tourist, cops give you a pass.
Homeless woman, homeless man,
I hope you enjoy thirty days in the can.
Drink on the beach, drink on the street,
if you’re a tourist you won’t be beat.
Sleep in your car, sleep in your van,
if you get caught, you’ll be in the can.
DONNIE LEE, DONNIE LEE,
are you going to let the MURDERERS be?
To the homeless and tourists, who come to Key West,
think about it careful, then do what’s best.
If you care about Key West, DO NOT reelect the current city commission!
St. Thomas, USVI
soon to be back in Key West
My dreams in a nap yesterday and throughout last night left me with the impression that, on Monday,
I will file to run for mayor of Key Weird. Perhaps my entering the race then will discourage riff raff who don’t want to be stripped naked in plain view from entering and clogging up the sewers even more.
In that regard, this came in yesterday from a Republican amigo who used to live in the lower Keys, but not lives in Naples:
I must confess that I only read a few of these [my daily ravings], but you have found your area of expertise – pushing shit through a pipe. Good luck, buddy.
Perhaps to cheer me up further, even offer hope, my oldest first Bashinsky cousin Leo sent: