To Protect & Serve might be a selective enforcement phenomenon in Key West, if you are homeless, or are suspected of being; plus some affordable housing cha cha mumbo jumbo

protect and serve 2

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Perhaps in response to recent attacks on me at‘s Coconut Telegraph, see link at the bottom of this post today, Kurt Wagner sent:

There is a man in Key West,
who hears the Angels best.
When he does wrong,
they tell him “be strong”
and ignore what he hears from the rest.

Vote Sloan Bashinsky for Mayor!!!!

Kurt also replied to yesterday’s God’s angels, et. al., file suit in Federal Court against 12 Key West police officers and the City of Key West for the wrongful death of Charles Eimers on South Beach last Thanksgiving Day, after he was profiled by police officers as being homeless – he wasn’t homeless but died because the police thought he was post at Many of the email recipients work for the Key West Police Department.

Subject: RE: FYI – God’s angels, et. al., file suit
Date: Sat, 12 Apr 2014 22:29:33 -0500

Great letter Sloan. Unfortunately the Key West Police will ignore it. They will hide behind the blue wall, Plead the fifth, and stonewall the investigation. Donnie Lee, the city commissioners, the mayor will all stay silent. They know they are in a world of hurt on this case. This is going to cost the tax payers of Key West millions. If the Key West storm troopers were not given instructions by Donnie Lee, who got his instructions from Vitas, who got his instructions from the commission, who got their instructions from Mayor Cates, Charles Eimer would still be alive and well, enjoying his retirement in paradise. But NO! He was profiled as a “homeless asshole” by Donnie Lee’s “storm troopers” I hope the “elite rich” enjoy paying the Eimer family millions to make them feel good about ridding Key West of the “homeless problem”

Kurt Wagner

Very early this morning, I replied to Kurt and copied ALL:

Morning, Kurt – others

The city commissioners do not answer to Mayor Cates. On the City Commission, commissioners and mayor each have one vote, equal power, although the mayor runs city commission meetings and has more power in that sense. Who knows what goes on behind the scenes? But on the surface, the mayor and commissioners individually do not give orders to the city manager and police chief.

As a body, in a duly called and advertised city commission meeting, the mayor and commissioners can give orders to the city manager for the police chief to follow. The city manager can comply or not comply with those orders. It’s on him to make that decision. If the city manager gives the police chief the orders and the chief does not follow them, which is his choice, then the city manager can fire the police chief, or conclude the chief’s position is preferred. Running that back up the line, the City Commission can fire the city manager.

Each person in that chain of command is responsible for his or her own decision. No person in that chain of command can blame his or her own decision on someone else. “I was just following orders” does not cut it in God’s court. “I was just doing what my constituents wanted me to do” does not cut it in God’s court. “I was just honoring the blue line code” does not cut it in God’s court.

I imagine this lawsuit will be tough to prosecute, if the police officers involved do not tell what they know. The lawsuit needs to be prosecuted nonetheless. Who knows what might fall out of the tree?

Really odd things can happen, which cause people dug in to a position to decide dug in isn’t all that good a position after all. Fear of retaliation from fellow police officers might suddenly be tiny compared to fear of something obviously not of this world, which has taken a special interest in the matter. Consciences might kick in without warning. Fear of being found lacking by Jesus or by God might cause a shift in thinking and position. Unexpected not necessarily fun things can happen as time passes.


Later this morning, I sent this P.S. to Kurt, copied to ALL:

Kurt, others –

Police Chief Donie Lee

Donie Lee

has a letter to the editor in today’s Key West Citizen taking the Citizen to task for its recent Charles Eimers editorial. I am unable to copy and paste Donie’s letter here, it only comes up in the complete downloaded edition and is not visible using the shorthand method of seeing letters to the editorial.

Donie disputes KW police are using excessive force, and cites only two Citizen Review Board complaints filed against police officers in 2013. Perhaps Donie should hire someone who does not work for the KWPD to walk or ride a bicycle around town and meet and talk with homeless people and ask them about their experiences with KWPD officers and report that in writing back to Donie and Donie sends that report verbatim to me and the other local rags, and I will publish it, even if the other rags don’t.

I make the homeless rounds from time to time, and I hear really disturbing things about some KWPD officers, and other officers get pretty good marks.

Regardless, the officers involved in the Eimers case, who are not telling Donie and Florida Department of Law Enforcement what they know about that case, are not getting good marks by any standard of measure.

The Citizen editorial was a minnow compared to the lawsuit the Eimers family filed the other day. Donie doesn’t mention the lawsuit in his letter, in which he says, “our officers have suffered aspersions that sully their reputations in this community.”

Donie doesn’t mention in his letter that his officers clamming up about what happened that day sullied their reputations in this community.



Deer Ed of the Coconut Telegraph wrote to me  about Donie Lee’s letter to the editor:

Yeah, last year the Citizen installed software to prevent us from copying their stuff. So I had to install two pieces of software in addition to one I already had to reformat their columns, to get around that. Ha to them! I’ll post his letter today. All the letter does is say there were only 2 complaints of any kind last year and he asked people to withhold judgement until the investigation is complete. What’s wrong with that?

I replied:

Maybe there is nothing wrong with that, time will tell.

His officers clamming up, after saying Eimers resisted arrest and the bystander’s video negated that lie, is what got my attention. And other things the blue paper dug up.

Those cops sullied their own reputations, regardless of what FDLE and IA come up with, or not.

John Guerra

Former Citizen journalist John Guerra replied to yesterday’s post:

Sloan, I have to say this one is heartfelt and goes to the heart of the matter. I found it powerful and the largest point you made is that police officers are not supposed to manage, or herd, or combat homeless people. I have, for the most part, been treated kindly and professionally by police officers in Key West and can’t believe that they would purposefully kill a homeless person.
Which, Mr. Eimer was not–homeless, that is.


I replied:

Hi, John – thanks.

I have never thought or written that the KW police officers purposefully killed Charles Eimers. What it looks to me happened, based on reports I read in the blue paper, and based on what I know to be some KW cops’ sentiment toward homeless people, is the cops were revved up because they believed Eimers to be homeless, and they proceeded from there: it got away from them, their thinking was clouded, they were distracted, they were rough on Eimers; and, in the blue paper, was a report of one of the cops later boasting to a friend that he had elbowed the bum in the back of the neck, or maybe in the back of his shoulder; and, there was the report, in the blue paper, of cops telling the hostess at the South Beach restaurant she’d better keep quiet.

Then, there is the fabricated cops’ initial story of Eimers resisting arrest at South Beach, which the bystander’s fortuitous video shows otherwise.

As I wrote today, have written a number of times, the whole thing would have gone down differently if the cops had not thought Eimers was homeless, and that, sadly, bleeds back up the chain of command to Police Chief Donie Lee, then to his boss, the city manager, then to his the city manager’s bosses, the mayor and city commissioners, who set the tone for Key West’s aggressive homeless policy. KW cops are acting under unwritten directives from the very top to make it as rough on homeless people as they can get away with, if only just barely. I have wrestled against that for years, and have gotten nowhere since Police Chief Buz Dillon was dismissed by City Manager Julio Avael. It was a time bomb waiting to go off, and it went off last Thanksgiving Day at South Beach.

And, from what I am hearing from the street, the KW police are now even more aggressive with homeless people, doing all possible to get them off the streets of the city.

I am fuzzy on the law in civil rights lawsuits. Can the cops plead the Fifth and decline to testify at depositions and at trial? Can a federal judge order them to testify, since it is a civil and not a criminal lawsuit? Can a federal judge hold them in contempt and jail them, if they don’t testify? I imagine the judge certainly can do that with cops who were not in on the take down, but were collateral witnesses.

If the cops don’t testify, can that be evidence against them and the city supporting the plaintiff’s civil rights violations?

Can, under the doctrine of Res Ipsa Loquitur, the city be slammed for a big damage verdict, if the cops don’t tell what happened? Eimers was alive. He was taken into police custody without resisting arrest. He died. His mouth and nose were full of sand. Res Ipsa, the thing speaks for itself.

I don’t know.

There is a very old rule of evidence, which goes like, if a party to litigation tries to destroy or alter material evidence, then all adverse inferences can be made against the party by the jury.

There is a parallel probably just as old rule of evidence, which goes like, if a witness testifies falsely as to a material fact, the jury can choose to disregard the witness’ entire testimony.

All fodder for later, of course.

Am wondering if the national news services will now report the Eimers case. Time will tell.

Tim Gratz

Ex-lawyer Tim Gratz replied to yesterday’s post:

Eloquent and important column today. I agree with you that it was providence that allowed the encounter to be recorded on a cell phone. Our hope must be that he will not have died in vain. And we know what an effective attorney Mr. Horan is and I am sure his investigation will help more of the truth to come out.
I am confident that you like me at least speed-read all local publications. But in case you missed it, this week’s Keys Weekly asked people if they could dine at Benihana’s with anyone, whom would it be? One said Mick Jagger; one said Bill Gates.
But listen to what Joey Antonaccio, a Coast Guard sailor from NJ stationed in Key West wrote:
“I would fill the table with five or six homeless people from the beach and give them a sense of family and a good meal to fill their stomachs.” We can be glad that there are people like Mr. Antonaccio serving our country.
Interested in your thoughts on my letter published in the Citizen today.

Tim’s letter to the editor:

A story in the April 9 New York Times detailed the enormous costs being spent by several countries on the search for the missing Malaysian plane — millions of dollars on a daily basis. It is highly unlikely, of course, that there were any survivors.

If the search does finally locate the wreckage, it is possible, although clearly not a certainty, that the wreckage may provide clues to what caused the tragedy. But even if the cause is determined, it will not bring the deceased back to life, and it is unlikely it will lead to any criminal prosecution of any living soul.

I suggest it would be far more moral if the funds going in to what may be a futile search for the missing plane were used to fight problems of the living, perhaps even to the extent of saving or extending lives.

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is one of many possible beneficiaries. Think what treatment a million dollars could provide to the child cancer victims at St. Jude. Another beneficiary could be the charity that brings plastic surgery to children with horrible facial deformities, a cause recently championed by the Key West Women’s Club.

Better to save the living than search for the lost.

Tim Gratz

Key West

I wrote to Tim:

Hi, Tim – thanks.

Usually I look at local news stories in the Key West Citizen online version, and Citizen Editorial Board editorials, letters to the editors, and events announcements. Sometimes I open the online version fully and look at some of the other articles. I did not catch the Antonaccio story/comment, which deserves to go viral on the Web. I did see your letter and thought of including it my post today, but the Eimers lawsuit and what I had written to the KWPD officers yesterday, not yet knowing of the lawsuit, was a full plate, it seemed.

I did dream of sirisee (your Pastor John’s healing vine) in my nap earlier today, and on waking and seeing your email, I connect those dots to your letter to the editor. I think you are right about looking after the living and letting the dead be, which is close to, but perhaps not entirely what Jesus meant when he told a man who wanted to go bury a dead relative, to let the dead bury the dead, and for the man to follow Jesus and minister to the living. I think Jesus meant, leave for the spiritually dead to bury a corpse.

However, I don’t think the relatives of the missing airliner passengers will agree with you, nor perhaps any government leaders, at least not openly. In the beginning, of course, all efforts should have been made to try to locate the missing aircraft. Nor do I think the people over in that region would use any money saved for American charities, given the need for charitable help in that region of the world. But perhaps if your letter went viral, it might wake up Americans to a different way.

Gosh, right here in Key West, I see lots of places money could be spent to help people in great need. People losing their homes, people being evicted, people living with friends or relatives, in vehicles, especially families, especially families, or single parents, with children. People with serious illnesses, who cannot afford medical treatment.

I still am receiving stuff on the Albuquerque SWAT cops gunning down a homeless man, which revolted me. But that’s far away, and right here in Key West we have the city now being sued for what its police did with Charles Eimers last Thanksgiving Day, which cost him his life. They thought he was homeless. Does anyone really not think he would have been treated differently, if he had not been thought to have been homeless?

I found myself thinking early on that the missing Malaysian airliner would never be found; that it would remain an unsolved mystery. I hope not, the relatives of the passengers need more solid closure than nobody knows what happened. Perhaps I sympathize with the relatives, having had a son die without warning, in his sleep. It made me wish he had taken me with him. I missed him that much.


Tim replied:

I totally agree with you that Mr. Antonaccio’s story deserves to “go viral”. Some homeless citizens (and others as well) are easy to like and befriend while others are not. But we have to remember that each is a human that God loves as much as He does us, and that no one is beyond redemption. His point was also well taken that a homeless person needs not only food but also the knowledge that he or she is loved and respected. Your comments on the homeless issue are always sage.

Re the missing plane, I agree with you that the families would like to have the wreckage found despite the cost but to what point? What does it matter the exact location of the crash? And even if the wreckage and black box are found, it may be unlikely that the cause will be discovered.

I agree with you that the foreign governments that are participating are unlikely to give money to American charities but I am sure that there are very worthy charities working in their countries that could use the money that is being spent on the search and I repeat that even if the wreckage and/or black box are discovered, it is likely that little good will be accomplished for either the families or society.

There are certainly lessons that can be drawn to keep this event from reoccurring but those lessons can be made now. For instance if it was the pilot who turned off the transmitters maybe a fail-safe can be implemented. Assuming there MAY be a legitimate reason to turn off a transmitter on a civilian airplane (hard to imagine, though) I would suspect a system could be designed to require a person on the ground to approve of the turn-off.

My thoughts anyway, thanks!


I replied:

Do you know that the pilot turned off the transmitters? Right now, I don’t think anyone knows what happened to the transmitters, or to the airplane. The angels know. Maybe they will tell me in a dream. I have my own wacky theory, which I was sitting on when someone at Harpoon Harry’s some time back now got to obsessing about the missing airplane, which was getting ongoing reports on the TV news at Harpoon Harry’s. Finally he said, maybe it was a Bermuda Triangle kind of thing? I said, yeah, maybe that, or ETs grabbed the airplane. He paused, went back to obsessing about mechanical reasons, or hijacking, etc. I said, I read once where NASA lost a satellite in space and was not able to find it. Finally, an aborigine showed up at a satellite tracking station somewhere in Australia and told the people running the station where to look in the sky for the satellite. They looked there and found the satellite.

Australian aborigine

Tim wrote:

No I do not know that the pilot turned off the transmitters but that is one theory.

From news reports it appears the plane was taking evasive action to avoid radar.

Presumably it could have been well trained hijackers.

But if the plan was just to crash the plane why the evasive action?

Certainly the angels do know what was going on.

But I doubt whether the wreckage and black box will tell the story.

Query why one of the passengers did not call someone on a cell phone to talk about what was going on.

It certainly is a disturbing mystery.

Do you know the story when in October of 1963 my now deceased friend Gerry Hemming of the No Name Key group spent a week searching Central America for a small plane that disappeared with two or three people aboard? He was accompanied by Atty Ellis Rubin who represented the insurance company for the rental plane.

A few years ago Mark [Howell] and I met the daughter of the pilot.

They gave up the search after about a week, knowing it was useless.

I replied this morning:

I had not heard of the Central America missing plane.

The only input on the Malaysian airliner I seemed to get last night in dreams was the angels didn’t seem to like me tossing in my own personal musings about what might have happened. Even so, since the Australians have been so active in trying to locate the missing airplane, perhaps they should put out word down there that if any aborigines know where the airplane is, to please let someone in “authority” know, so it can be checked out.

This letter to the editor I was able to lift out of the KW Citizen today:

affordable housing

For the last seven years, as part of my 25-year commitment to secure adequate workforce housing for our community’s workforce, I have felt very much like I was crying out in the wilderness. I felt this because politics is such a crisis-driven endeavor, and because there has been an illusion that our past housing crisis had somehow gone away, been solved by the recession, and because our previous focus on housing needs for our working men and women had waned.

Over these recession years I have appeared before various city commissions, including Key West’s and the county commission and state housing agencies, asking them not to be misled or lulled into thinking we had somehow won the day on housing, and to use funds available to purchase land and to hold onto public land and continue to build workforce housing ahead of the coming recovery.

That, unfortunately, did not happen. Soon much-needed teachers, cops, managers, nurses and very much-needed midlevel and lower-level workers will not find a place to live in our communities. Families will leave, positions will go unfilled, service will deteriorate, etc.

We have seen this before, but this time will be worse as large tracks of land that could have been retained are disappearing quickly in the recovery. We are going to have a limited time to get this right.

To not house our working people adequately, as we approach buildout, will cause many hardships and a permanent and scaring social crisis in our community that will affect everyone who calls this place home. Please join with me in urging our leaders to refocus on the issue of workforce housing.

Edwin O. Swift III

Key West


While I agree with Ed that there is a crying need for truly affordable workforce housing in Key West, and throughout the Florida Keys, it has been my observation over the years that nothing Ed writes in letters to the editors, or says at city and county commission meetings, is all that it appears to be. There always seems to be a back story, a subtext, which people in the know get, but it is never reported in the newspapers, as far as I see.

I imagine what Ed means by workforce housing is housing people can buy. What really is needed, though, is affordable rental housing, for workers, retirees, and everyone else who is not rich, or even well off. Rental housing poor people can afford, people like waitresses and waiters, boat mates, garage mechanics, housekeepers, yard caretakers.

For example, a lot of affordable rental housing could have been built where Pritam Singh’s new hotel is going up beside and behind Coffee Plantaton on Caroline Street. Maybe Ed Swift spoke out against that development and said it should be affordable housing. Does anyone know?

A lot of affordable rental housing could have stayed at the Simonton Street trailer park, which now is being developed into housing no one who once lived there will be able to afford. Who knows where those people ended up living? Maybe Ed Swift spoke out against that development? Does anyone know?

A great deal of affordable rental housing could have been built on Truman Waterfront. I’m pretty sure Ed Swift did not speak out in favor of that.

My first brush with Ed and affordable housing was at a Monroe County workforce housing committee meeting in Key Colony Beach in 2006. Ed was raising cain about shortening the hurricane evacuation schedule time, because that would allow for more new residential housing to be built in the Keys, than the then hurricane evacuation schedule allowed. He said shortening the “official” hurricane evacuation time was the only way to ensure enough workforce housing (for sale) could be built in the Keys. Ed did not say he wanted to develop more market rate (high-end) housing in the Keys, and shortening the hurriciane evacuation time would let him do that.

When I raised my hand and said I had a comment, the chair of the meeting, a real estate broker, said no citizen comments until the very end. I said, you don’t want to hear what citizens think, before you make your decision? No reply from the chair.

Driving home from that meeting, I received a phone call from Allyson Matley (now Allyson Crean),

Allyson Crean

who was the Keynoter’s Key West Bureau Chief at that time. I had filed to run for the county commission against George Neugent and was then living on Little Torch Key. I told Alyson what had happened at the workforce housing meeting. She sounded a bit taken aback. She said she was going to write about it and other stuff we discussed. When it was published, it was not at all what I had told her. I called Alyson. She said, alas, her bosses had written over her. There was nothing she could do.

Some years later, Alyson left the Keynoter and became the spokesperson for the City of Key West and for the Key West Police Department. I felt for her after she published the KWPD’s version of different aspects of the Charles Eimers case in the city’s official newsletter, only to have to back track and amend some of what she had published based on what the KWPD had told her, after Key West the Newspaper blew the KWPD’s version to hell and back.

My angel bosses write over me all the time, you’d be surprised how much I write never sees the light of day. But they would never write over something like that, and if I didn’t report it, they would make me wish I had.

There is a different post today at, which you should be able to reach by clicking on this link: Jesus loves me and other Sunday prayer meetings on’s popular Coconut Telegraph kudos and whiners forum

Sloan at Coco's

Sloan Bashinsky

Political advertisement paid for and approved by Sloan Bashinsky, for Mayor of Key West

About Sloan

Darn, that would take a while. Try the autobiographical pages in the header. Ditto for header menu pages at Hatched and raised there, eventually I ran away from home. Here's a short list: Born 1942; male; spoken for; accused of all sorts of imaginable and unimaginable things, perhaps some true. Live on Key West of Weird asteroid. Publish something most days at, been at that since July 2007. That's heaps of catch-up reading, probably not recommended.
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