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There is a not intended to win friends dead-skunkish post today at www.goodmorningfloridakeys.com, which you should be able to reach by clicking on this link: So, you live in the Florida Keys and call yourself an environmentalist?
Meanwhile, regarding the southernmost dead skunk alley, Nashville J sent day before yesterday:
At least the police did not KILL HIM -but they certainly choked him until he passed out – and he was not resisting arrest. No wonder people are beginning to fear the police more than the crooks.
The progressive pics in that link of the police officer choking the student are charming.
J sent yesterday (SWIFT ROCKY TOP BLUE JUSTICE, nothing like snail crawl Conch blue injustice):
At least it did not take the Sherriff long to fire the cop who choked the kid. Now if only KW Donnie Lee would fire the 12 who are all walking the blue line instead of telling the truth about the Thanksgiving death on the beach.
It remains to be seen what KW City Hall will do about the death of Charles Eimers. Sounds like Knoxville had more of a conscience.
Moving even deeper into dead skunk territory is today’s Citizen report on last night’s Citizens Review Board meeting, my interspersed comments in italics:
Tuesday, April 29, 2014 Add to Facebook Add to Twitter
CRB mulls restraint policy
Also, Srch resigns, bucket case dumped
BY GWEN FILOSA Citizen Staff
Members of Key West’s volunteer Citizen Review Board on Monday questioned the use of a police technique that has come under review since the Dec. 4 death of a Michigan man who had clashed with officers during a traffic stop Thanksgiving morning.
But a police representative told the panel the department has no policy specific to “prone restraint,” the practice of putting a suspect on his chest in order to handcuff him. The seven-member CRB was created by voter referendum to review complaints about police misconduct.
“Prone restraint is a proper technique to use in many cases,” said Sgt. Joe Tripp of the Key West Police Department’s Professional Standards Division, who attends the CRB meetings. “There is no policy because it is an acceptable technique. Many of the tactics we use involve prone restraint: putting someone on their chest in order to apply the handcuffs.”
Key West police policy does however prohibit the transport of arrested suspects while in a prone position, Tripp said.
“Because of [the risk of] asphyxia,” Tripp said Monday at Old City Hall. “As to adopting a policy on prone restraint, there are no plans.”
While not delving into details, CRB members Tom Milone and Joe Pais each referred to Charles Eimers, whose death in police custody Dec. 4 is under investigation by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE).
Pais asked that the subject become part of the board’s agenda for the 6 p.m. May 19 meeting at Old City Hall.
The CRB is not authorized to write policy, but may make recommendations to Police Chief Donie Lee.
Earlier this year, the board decided to wait until FDLE releases its findings before discussing the Eimers case. Executive Director Sue Srch sent a letter on behalf of the review board to FDLE asking for the final results. FDLE responded kindly, Srch said Monday., but has not completed its review.
Attorney Robert Cintron, who advises the review board, strongly urged the members not to openly discuss the Eimers case on the dais while it remains under state investigation.
“It’s not fair to any of the participants to be discussing it, vaguely or with innuendo,” Cintron said. “When you discuss prone restraint, do not discuss a particular matter.”
Milone, though, described prone restraint as a possibly dangerous technique.
“Someone can look like they’re resisting arrest and they’re really starving for air and moving in a way that could be easily misinterpreted,” said Milone, who raised the subject that was not on the meeting’s agenda. “Someone can become asphyxiated quite quickly. If you’re going to use that technique, one officer needs to monitor [the suspect's] condition while he or she is on the ground.”
No cause of death has been released, in light of the still-active investigation, FDLE has said. But Eimers’ family believes police caused the man’s death by pinning him to a beach during the arrest.
Eimers, 61, was held facedown on South Beach by at least three Key West police officers, who helped handcuff him and attach a leg restraint before releasing him once they saw he had turned blue, reports state.
Paramedics said Eimers had no pulse when they arrived, but emergency room workers at Lower Keys Medical Center were able to raise one. Eimers remained on a ventilator until Dec. 4.
On April 11, Eimers’ adult children in Michigan sued the city in federal court over the death, arguing that police killed their father, who they say had arrived in Key West to retire after a career at General Motors.
“I’d like to know why there is no policy in light of a very tragic situation that occurred lately in this community involving many police officers,” said board member Joe Pais. “Why does a prone restraint policy not exist?”
“There are different levels of suspects’ strength and aggression,” said Tripp. “I can’t answer for someone else.”
The FDLE teaches prone restraint as a technique, Tripp said.
“It’s up to the officer’s discretion, any force that we use,” Tripp said. “The officer in that position at that exact time under those exact conditions makes that decision. The officer has to take all the factors and figure out in a millisecond what to do.”
Hmmm, Sgt. Tripp also said an accepted prone restraint procedure is for an officer to put a knee on the back shoulder of a face-down prone prisoner, as part of handcuffing the prisoner; and the face-down prone prisoner’s face should be facing to one side or the other, and not face-down, so as to avoid asphyxiation.
Summarizing my 3 minutes of citizen comments, in a meandering way, I said it’s premature for the CRB to even be discussing prone restraint; for one thing, the plaintiff lawyers will get a copy of the recording of the CRB meeting and listen to it; for another thing, Officer Tripp was put in a weird position with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigation still underway and the lawsuit already having been filed; or another thing, the City is not likely to make any policy on prone restraint with all that going on, as it will be viewed as an admission by the city against its police and itself; and for another thing, there are far more serious allegations of police misconduct than botched prone restraint, which very likely will eventually come before the CRB. My somewhat disguised intent, which I stated plainly to Tom Milone, Joe Pace and the CRB Chair just after the meeting was adjourned, was the CRB should do nothing to give the KWPD officers involved in the Emiers case any chance to say they were not properly trained in prone restraint and that’s all this terrible case is about.
Also Monday, the board recognized the recent resignation of Srch, who is leaving Key West this summer to move back to her hometown of Chicago to care for family members.
Applications for the job are due May 9, Srch said.
Srch made no comments Monday evening about prone restraint, which dominated the meeting that also featured a case that the board made quick work of dismissing.
The board found three complaints “not sustained” from a man [Hatman] who lives in his van in Key West and says police officers harassed him and lied at trial about him having a five-gallon bucket of human waste inside his vehicle in March.
Shahdaroba Rodd, 67, who was convicted after a trial in December of violating the city’s lodging-in-vehicles prohibition, said Officers Marcus del Valle and Darnell Sealy concocted the bucket story at trial, never mentioning it in their reports or on the video taken during the investigation.
“I most certainly did not have any feces in the bucket,” Rodd wrote in a complaint filed with the city about the March 9, 2013, incident at the corner of Casa Marina Court and Reynolds Street.
The board found Rodd’s three complaints of untruthfulness, harassment and selective prosecution “not sustained” in three separate votes. Rodd did not attend the meeting, but appeared last month and spoke. The board last month postponed a final vote since there were only four members at the March meeting when the case came up.
Hatman moved to the mainland, and emailed me last week that his case was coming back up before the CRB and perhaps I would like to attend since he could not be there.
Board members were provided with a one-hour-long recording of the trial before Judge Wayne Miller. Cintron told them Rodd’s defense was that the city’s lodging rule is unconstitutional and that he admitted to breaking it.
As for the bucket, it wasn’t a critical fact of the case, Cintron said.
“The bucket was a red herring, it didn’t matter,” said Cintron. “The bucket was not essential to the guilt or innocence of Mr. Rodd.”
Cintron said that after I had said during citizen comments that the bucket was not relevant to the charges against Hatman, living in a vehicle, which Hatman himself admitted at his trial he was doing. I said I attended the trial and a hearing before that, and my gut impression during the trial was the two police officers who testified that there was feces in a bucket did not tell the truth about that. I said objective evidence they did not tell the truth was there was no mention of feces in a bucket in their written indent reports, there was no mention of feces in a bucket in the video they made of the entire incident, and feces in a bucket was not necessary to make out violation of the city ordinance. Feces in a bucket was introduced into evidence to inflame the case, and a great deal was made during the trial of feces in a bucket. It was a he said, she said, whether there was feces in a bucket; back in Alabama that would be called a dog fall buy judges and lawyers, and the judge would leave the parties where the judge found them; but in this case, Hatman did not testify. I said Hatman is a friend of mine, and it is my opinion the city ordinance is unconstitutional, but the CRB iss not the right forum to make that argument. I said I told Hatman what I felt was the best argument for the ordinance being unconstitutional, and he did not use it. I forgot to say, the reason Hatman was not there was because he had moved to the mainland. I said the CRB owes its existence to Hatman, because it was an Internal Affairs case Dennis Cooper had initiated over alleged mistreatment of Hatman by Officer Al Flowers, which led to Cooper being arrested for publishing about that IA investigation in Key West the Newspaper, which he then owned and published. I said, then Police Chief Buz Dillon went about getting Cooper arrested the right way buy having a judge issue the arrest warrant. The Judge was Wayne Miller, who later presided over Hatman’s living in his van case. Dillon got slammed by Cooper and the local press, and got sued, for having Cooper arrested, but Miller was left alone and went silently into the night. An intriguing beginning and ending.
The officers’ story about the bucket indeed inflamed the case and was made use of in Judge Miller’s written order finding Hatman guilty of violating the ordinance, which was passed because, and states, people living in vehicles are a threat to public health and tourism.
What this case effectively has done is set local precedent for KWPD officers making up any inflammatory story they want to make up, and that’s okay, so long as it’s not relevant to the city proving its case.
Isn’t that what happened in the Charles Eimers case?
He was suspected by one police officer of being homeless, which suspicion was passed along to other officers, and soon Charles was a dead prisoner, and soon lies were coming out of the KWPD about that had happened, lies which would have held up but for a bystander videoing the take down and prone restraint on a cell phone camera, which was smuggled to Key West the Newspaper – www.thebluepaper.com – now owned and published by Arnaud and Naja Girard, but for whom, and that video, the death of Charles Eimers would have passed silently into the night.
Here’s a link to Arnaud and Naja’s most recent article on Charles Eimers:
It contains a link to the bystander’s cell phone video, and a link to all prior blue paper Eimers articles. Reader comments below the current Eimers article indicate how blue paper readers feel about the case. Naja tells me this case is getting a lot of hits on the blue paper’s website. Thousands.
Meanwhile, I was the only citizen to comment at last night’s CRB meeting. I suppose Gwen didn’t report my comments because I am running for mayor, and to report my comments would not have been fair to Mayor Cates,
who was not there last night, and who, as far as I know, has yet to say anything publicly about the Thanksgiving Day slaughter of Charles Eimers by the KWPD and the ensuing attempts to cover it up.
In a recent issue of www.bigpinekey.com‘s popular Coconut Telegraph is something Deer Ed cherry-picked from one of my comments at the blue paper, without saying where he cherry-picked it. Maybe Deer Ed, too, doesn’t wish to be unfair to Mayor Cates.
[Dead Prisoner] Key West’s Mayor Cates and the six city commissioners, after the blue paper broke the story with the devastating video of the take down of Charles Eimers, which totally contracted the police officers’ version of the take down, made a grave error when they didn’t publicly express their own horror and outrage over what happened to Charles Eimers on South Beach last Thanksgiving Day. Yet it is understandable that they didn’t express their horror and outrage, because they had set the tone for how KWPD were to treat homeless people, and they, therefore, were where the buck stopped. Saying it another way, a fish rots from the head down, the apple don’t fall far from the tree, the chickens came home to roost.
There is one more part. KW people who do not hold Mayor Cates and the six city commissioners responsible for what happened to Charles Eimers last Thanksgiving Day themselves are responsible, as accomplices. Responsible in God’s Court, where all of Key West, except its homeless people, stands trial for what happened to Charles Eimers. That’s a wee bit bigger matter than where to put a new homeless shelter.
citizen demonstration in front of Old City Hall, circa 2011
Sloan Bashinsky, ex-lawyer, the law enforcement candidate, among other off the wall political endeavors
Political advertisement paid for and approved by Sloan Bashinsky, for Mayor of Key West