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Returning to the article in the current edition of Key West the Newspaper (, here’s the teaser, in which you can use either link to open the entire article.

Could Key West Reach the Ferguson Flashpoint?

“Cartwright began yelling as loud as he could, and almost immediately a large crowd began forming around us […] Within minutes a crowd of at least 50 bystanders surrounded us and Det. Wormington called for additional Officers while I held down Cartwright.”

Police officers were arresting bad boy Ricky Cartwright who had ridden his bicycle through a stop sign while texting, allegedly with a beer in his hand.  They tased him in the back.  He was now screaming in pain in the middle of the road, attracting an angry crowd which, according to Officer Siracuse’s police report, kept “drawing closer and closer… despite numerous commands to stay back.”

No, this is not Ferguson, Missouri.  This is Bahama Village, Key West, May 9, 2014.  Officer Siracuse had just tased a black man on Emma Street and yes this is the same Officer Siracuse who three years ago tased Matthew Murphy into a coma. […full article]

If you did not read the article yet, and watch the cavity search video, please do that. Otherwise, the reader comments reproduced below won’t make nearly as much sense. If you read my first comment, which was in yesterday’s post at this website, scroll down past it to John Donnelly’s comment, and go from there. It gets a bit wild.

Key West The Newspaper [The Blue Paper] encourages spirited, open debate in comments on our stories. We do ask that you refrain from profanity, personal attacks and remarks that are off point. Please join the conversation!


  1. Dang, Naja and Arnaud, are you two anti-business, anti-tourism? Are you trying to kill Key West’s economy? Key West is the next Ferguson? I sure hope not, but I was there Tuesday night, I heard Christine Russell’s comments, and I watched and heard Mayor Cates angrily dress her down.

    I heard him say Key West is a great place to live, and there are 600 homeless children in the Keys, and there are lots of people working in charities trying to help people and children in need, and she should join some of those organizations and pitch in.

    I heard Christine say from her seat, “He just doesn’t get it,” and I walked over to her and said, “He does not accept anything negative about Key West, it’s not in him.” She said, she knew that,but …

    “The most disturbing thing is not that much the unnecessary brutality, but the fact that it appears to be systemic, with the City seemingly willing to rubberstamp, disguise, or cover-up what is occurring.”

    The City, as in the Police Chief, who is hired by and answers to the City Manager, who is hired by and answers to the City Commission – the mayor and six city commissioners. The buck stops there; they set the tone, the policy.

    Just as the City Commission officially made One Human Family the city’s official philosophy, by remaining silent, by doing nothing, in the face of the cries and outcries of the blue paper and its citizen witnesses, in the face of citizens like Christine Russell’s plea during Tuesday night’s city commission meeting, the mayor and city commissioners are setting a very different tone and official philosophy.

    Imagine the impact on Key West’s economy, if the city has its own Ferguson event. As far as I know, Ferguson is not an international tourist destination. Key West is.

    Back in 2003, a small Key West weekly journal, I think it was Celebrate, asked the mayor candidates what did they say should be done about the acute tension between the KWPD and Bahama Village? I replied that Bahama Village elders should decide which KW police come into Bahama Village.

    The journal then reported, of the five candidates in that race, I was the only candidate who answered the question; the other candidates said they didn’t know what to do about Bahama Village and/or they didn’t want to touch the question.

    The question, and the reasons for it, didn’t go away. My answer is the same today, as it was in 2003. Bahama Village elders should get to decide which KW police officers come into Bahama Village, and which officers do not get to go in there.

    And, because the police issue is not limited to Bahama Village, the mayor and city commissioners, during a public workshop in Old City Hall, have a prayer meeting with Jesus and themselves, and with Jesus and City Manager Jim Scholl and Police Chief Donie Lee.

    During which workshop, citizens have 3 minutes each to say whatever they wish to say about city police and those city officials in regard to city police. At the end of citizen comments, those named city officials each then have to respond to the citizen input; they do not get to remain silent.

  2. Arnaud and Naja—Magnificent and Extraordinary Coverage…Thank you…

    Militarized police departments lacking effective leadership, which employ a standard ‘investigative paradigm’, are inherently designed to cover-up crimes resultant from ‘excessive force’ and ‘police brutality’.

    Only when authentic and independent examinations of alleged police misconduct becomes a ‘standard operating procedure’, will comfort, confidence and trust be birthed in the patrolled populaces.

    The unalienable rights of all people must be respected and preserved, as a matter of law.

    Only then will the proposed liberties enjoyed by citizens residing in a Constitutional Republic, celebrate their full expression.

    Until that time arrives, ‘bad cops’ and the departments that employ them, will continue to provide an intimidating presence, posing a dangerous threat to ones’ life and peace of mind.

    Criminal collusion by those city officials charged with supervising the operation of its police department, along with overseeing the behavior of its law-enforcement officers, has reached a tipping point.

    Key West is in for a rude awakening…

    It disturbs me to no end when I view police officers roughing up, sexually violating; and perhaps raping a young black man. All of these felonious crimes were committed in public, in broad daylight; and most probably in front of the victims’ mother and grandmother, by individuals purporting to be officers of the law.

    Can anyone question, why the aforementioned victim and his family would say that they: “Hate The Police”???

    I made a living carrying a lot of guns, beating people up and killing them. I got nicked up by a cadre of soldiers armed and trained as I was.

    Myself and the Men that I served with, never abused anyone in the manner I witnessed on the video identified in The Blue Paper as, “Key West Curbside Cavity Search”.

    The Mayor, City Commissioners and Police Chief are as useless as tits on a bull, when it comes to disciplining , filing criminally charges and terminating city employees who initiate savage, unnecessary and illegal assaults upon innocent residents, under the guise of community policing.

    State Attorney, please watch said video and offer an explanation of what you viewed. How far are you willing to let this type of career ending malfeasance go???

    • John…thank you for your service. During your time in a combat zone I’m sure your concern for legal search and seizure was very limited. What I saw when I viewed that tape was a pair of officers following legal procedures to ensure an arrestee did not have any dangerous weapons or incriminating evidence on his person. They did not expose his rear end or private parts and they were fairly discrete as such searches go. Many criminals have, in recent years, sought to conceal such contraband in places that previously were unthinkable. Law enforcement has been forced to respond to that change in tactics on the part of the criminals. What is most noteworthy is that the officers actually FOUND contraband in the course of their search. Assume for a moment that instead of drugs the accused had been carrying a dangerous weapon. Had the officers waited until the accused was at the holding facility to search him, he may well have been able to harm an officer, suddenly producing the weapon while getting out of the police cruiser. All reasonable efforts should be taken to ensure Officer safety, and what I observed on that video was not unreasonable. I would suggest that people should avoid getting to the point where a body cavity search is necessary. There are PLENTY of fine, upstanding citizens in our town, both black and white, who make it through a whole lifetime without ever being searched in that manner.

      • “officers following legal procedures” Are you sure?

        2014 Florida Statutes:

        901.211?Strip searches of persons arrested; body cavity search.—

        (1)?As used in this section, the term “strip search” means having an arrested person remove or arrange some or all of his or her clothing so as to permit a visual or manual inspection of the genitals; buttocks; anus; breasts, in the case of a female; or undergarments of such person.


        (3)?Each strip search shall be performed by a person of the same gender as the arrested person and on premises where the search cannot be observed by persons not physically conducting or observing the search pursuant to this section. Any observer shall be of the same gender as the arrested person.

        • Thanks, Naja – I was off on my word processor writing this reply to Just Jim.


          Well, Jim, videos, such as the one taken by members of the unruly crowd in this particular anus-search video, and the video in the Charles Eimers case, tend to speak for themselves.

          I agree, all reasonable efforts to insure officer safety should be taken by officers, such as weapon searches of a legally-detained suspected felon: patting down for gun or knife, for example, in clothing, strapped to an ankle, in a boot, in belt behind back, etc.

          But I’m wondering what weapons suspects have been found to carry in their anus? Drugs, diamonds, hidden in the anus, I have heard of. But weapons? What would these weapons be?

          Maybe I’ve been living with my head where the sun doesn’t shine, or down a rabbit hole, but I don’t believe I ever saw or even heard of an anus search in daylight in front of citizen onlookers. This is standard police procedure now?

          I fondly recall a number of prostate exams done on me by my internist during annual physicals, and one by an urologist. I can attest that their sticking finger up my anus and poking around in there was really uncomfortable. Cops are trained by physicians to do that?

          I cannot tell from the video. The cops found drugs up the suspect’s anus? Or somewhere else on his person? The anus search could not have been done at the jail?

          I agree, best not to be toting or using or selling illegal drugs; although in the big scheme, the war on drugs looks to me to be a waste of time and money, and many lives from gun shots and other weapons. I’d rather see street drugs legalized, hopefully to remove the physical violence that often attends drugs, and they are taxed like the legal drugs, booze, tobacco, and what physicians dispense.

          I’m wondering, Jim if you were a cop in Key West? If so, did you work Bahama Village. If so, what’s your full name? Maybe the blue paper or I might like check you out.

          Meanwhile, on the Ferguson comparison, I imagine I never would have heard of Ferguson, if a white cop had not shot and killed a young black man there. I hope that cop really had a good reason for doing that, and I hope the Grand Jury there is diligent for all’s sake.

          If I were a judge in Ferguson, I would be inclined to order the release of all of that Grand Jury’s records, if the Grand Jury lets that white cop go. I would not want the unruly mob thinking there had been a white cover up. I would want them to see everything that Grand Jury had before it.

          If you live in Key West, Jim, perhaps you will use your having been a cop to try to steer KWPD in a different direction. They have plenty of people down here defending them, including the mayor and city commissioners and the city manager, and their own police chief and police benevolent union and its lawyers.

      • Part 2 to Just Jim.

        Just this morning, a homeless black man I know told me that he recently was arrested by an officer named Duponte, du-pont-e, best I can spell it, for camping, and was taken to jail.

        The black man said he was sitting on a towel under a tree reading a book in Bayview Park, and when he asked Duponte to chain his bicycle parked nearby, which had his possessions hanging from the handle bars in plastic shopping bags, Duponte said those were not the black man’s possessions and he, Duponte, didn’t have to take care of them; and when the black homeless man protested that, Duponte said the bike and the bags hanging from the handle bars were not part of that scene and were not his responsibility. And off to jail they went.

        I’m pretty sure police officers are required to secure, inventory and protect an arrested suspect’s possessions and put them where they will be looked after until the suspect is released from custody.

        Two days later, the black homeless man said, he was in front of Judge Peary Fowler, a Key West female judge, for whom he has done work, and she said she saw no probable cause and let him go.

        I hear plenty of stories like this down here from homeless people, white and black alike.

        I practiced law once upon time, and I had plenty of dealings before judges. My experiences after I practiced law perhaps grizzled me somewhat.

        If I were a judge down here, and that homeless black man’s case came before me, I would hold Duponte in contempt for willfully insulting the criminal justice system, me and my court. I would order my bailiff, who is a Monroe County Deputy Sheriff, to relieve Duponte of his KWPD pistol, taser and other police tackle, and make arrangements for Duponte to be taken to the Sheriff’s jail on Stock Island, the next key up from Key West, and held there for two days, and for so additionally long as it takes him to reimburse in cash the KWPD, the Sheriff, the Monroe County Clerk and Court, the City or County prosecutor, and the Public Defender, if applicable, the full cost, to the last penny, of jailing, prosecuting and trying the homeless black man for sitting on a towel reading a book under a tree in a public park.

        And, I order that, while incarcerated for contempt, Duponte is not allowed to read anything other than legal matters pertaining to his contempt case.

        And, I tell Duponte, if he ever brings me another frivolous case, I’m really constraining myself not to say malicious case, I will put him in the Sheriff’s jail again, but for a lot longer time.

        As is turns out, this particular homeless black man is educated. He tells me from time to time of his history of political activism where he lived up north. He tells me sometimes of his local activism in Key West.

        I told him to file a complaint with the Citizen (Police) Review Board. He said he will do that. I will keep checking with him on that.

        • I like your thinking on this Sloan. Would it be possible to add a proctology exam to Officer Duponte’s detention?

          • Hmmm, Sister

            Duponte seems to need different remedial training. But such an exam would seem in order, in plain view, say in front of Sloppy Joe’s on Duval Street, for the two white cops in the cavity search video.

      • When Naja and I spoke by telephone this afternoon after I had submitted two comments to yours, Just Jim, I said I was not bothered by the officers making a drug arrest; that’s their job. But given what Naja quoted to you on the law of cavity searches in Florida, and given my own astonishment that a daytime cavity search of a black man in front of black witnesses in Bahama Village, which is mostly a black community, was carried out by two white police officers, my take is the cavity search was a deliberate racial provocation of the worst kind. Saying it another way, I can’t see those two white officers doing a daytime cavity search of a white man on the sidewalk in front of Sloppy Joe’s Bar on Duval Street.

        • This is not just about drug arrests. I’ve seen videos of highway patrol doing roadside cavity searches of white women. In one particular instance, the female officer used the same glove on both women! These women were stopped for traffic violations and the proctology/gynocological exams were added on as a bonus.
          This is everyone’s problem. It is a war against the haves and the have nots. And the military/police are the trained animals who commit these crimes in hopes of being saved from the slaughter. Too bad they are wrong as the rulers always end up slaughtering the ones who committed the crimes…how can you trust someone who doesn’t know right from wrong?

  3. This is truly shocking. Our civic leaders are complicit in their inaction. Keep up the investigations, Naja and Arnaud. You are our only hope for simple justice. And I hope your readership has your back.

  4. Anyone wonder why this incident has become a “flashpoint?”

    it’s not like incidents such as this one have not occurred with alarming frequency over the past several decades. So why has this one been blown up by the media? why is this garnering so much press? Why is the issue of police “militarism” all of a sudden a question?

    Remember, at the same time the media and some government officials are decrying the police actions and their military weaponry, they are quietly arming school district police with AR-15?s.

  5. Wow! Doesn’t get much more slanted or irresponsible than this! Ferguson could happen ANYWHERE when both sides handle things poorly. And your examples of inappropriate police behavior almost ALWAYS reflect only information provided by the perpetrator or members of the unruly crowd. We do have some issues that need to be worked out. Key West IS a great place to live and work. But we all need to work together, responsibly, to ensure peaceful coexistence in our one human family.

    • Just Jim, see my comments below your earlier submission, which, except for my reply to Sister, were made with this your second comment in mind, too. Alas, this your second comment now inspires me to further say …

      Since you are a retired cop, Just Jim, I hope you will just come out of the closet and start a big parade from Bahama Village up to the KW police station on North Roosevelt Blvd, to have a sit down meet with Chief Donie Lee and all his troops about them just doing their part to put the blue paper out the blue line business, by eliminating 1001 ways to practice conduct unbecoming from the blue line operating manual. Then, just for the further great fun of it, you strip down and wave at the big crowd you assembled for the peace march, and you lean over let anyone who wants to do it, cavity search you with whatever they wish to search with. Then, just for the further great fun of it, you barefoot in your birthday suit over to the Salvation Army on Flagler Avenue and beg a couple of changes of clothes and a pair of flip flops and a baseball cap and a towel and a few used books, and just be homeless in Key west for a two consecutive monthly sentences, which I guarantee will teach you plenty about our peaceful one human family you never wanted to know co-existed. Then just after you are paroled from your just reformation sentence, you do your just full-enlightenment sentence, bodhisattva comes to mind, by being a Negro in Bahama Village until the Second Coming, or your departure from this life, which ever comes last.

  6. We are facing a difficult problem in this country. I am sure that there are many, many “officials” in our system that do not respect our rights. I am ALSO sure that there are folks who KILL our babies and our hopes and dreams with the distribution of illegal lethat and addictive substances among our people, especially our poorest people. Would we just let everything run free? What should we do to save our neighborhoods and our children and our sick society???

    • Good points, Pedrosan. I think most drug addiction, and I include booze and tobacco and caffeine and sugar, is rooted in terrible soul wounding at an early age and/or separation from God. Once addicted, it is very hard to stop using, and even those who stop using, in the main, struggle the rest of their lives to stay clean. Children born to alcohol, nicotine, caffeine and other drug-addicted mothers, are addicts at birth, go through withdrawal, and are additionally susceptible to becoming addicts again. The war on drugs has failed totally. I see no human solution. A supernatural solution is always possible, but will it happen? Same can be said of many other terrible human doings. I engage what’s in front of me, and then I engage the next thing in front of me. That’s all I can do. I suppose that’s all any of us can do, and pray, not knowing if, or how, our prayers are answered.

      • Sloan, may I be permitted to ask a question of you as it pertains to your mayoral candidacy?….What will you do to stop the violations of human rights perpetrated by the KW police force on the city’s inhabitants if you are elected?

        See my post yesterday, August 22, at, in which I went at that full bore. This blue paper article’s thread, and more, is in today’s post at that website.


Moving laterally to the Charles Eimers Grand Jury, starting with three progressive blue paper views of that case …

Charles Eimer's take downCharles Eimers smothered

Eimers police investigating self

After Naja Girard told me that she was unable to learn from Assistant State Attorney Val Winter how many people are on the Eimers case Grand Jury, I resorted to sneaky means and called our previous State Attorney Dennis Ward yesterday, who called Assistant State Attorney Mark Wilson and then reported back to me that there are 21 people on the Eimers Grand Jury, the maximum number allowed by state law. 15 members is the minimum number of members for a quorum, for a Grand Jury to conduct its business, and at least 12 members have to vote to prosecute/indict for a true bill to be returned.

Dennis said when he was State Attorney, they always went for the maximum number of grand jurors allowed by law, because it was difficult enough just scheduling 15 members to meet an any given time. He said he didn’t think the Key West mayor’s race election being next Tuesday had anything to do with the Grand Jury waiting to meet on the day following, next Wednesday. Dennis said Mark Wilson and Val Winter and the grand jurors got out their calendars when they last met, and next Wednesday was the next day a quorum of them could meet again. I said, well, when they were looking at their calendars, they saw the mayor’s election was on Tuesday, so they knew they were scheduling their next and perhaps final meeting the day after the mayor’s race. Doesn’t pass my smell test.

On another issue, I said I sure hoped Mark Wilson and Val Winter are presenting evidence of the KWPD cover up attempts, because cops covering up something they did says they think what they did was wrong. Dennis agreed that’s what covering something up says.

I said it doesn’t matter what the Grand Jury ends up doing.

If the Grand Jury returns a true bill, the mayor and city commissioners and police department lose, because their claim that the cops didn’t do anything wrong don’t jive with the Grand Jury’s view.

If the Grand Jury returns a no bill, the mayor and city commissioners and police department lose, because many people will think the cover up was not presented to the Grand Jury.

I said the only way to overcome that would be for the entire Grand Jury proceedings be made public. Dennis agreed.

However, it will take a judge to order the Grand Jury proceedings be made public, and if a local judge did order it, that order probably would be appealed, which would make many people even more suspicious of the way the State Attorney’s Office presented the Eimers case to the Grand Jury.

Of course, a Grand Jury does not decide guilt or innocence. A Grand Jury decides whether or not someone has to stand trial for alleged criminal misconduct. During that trial, guilt or innocence is determined.

Moving perhaps deeper into the legal dog house, my interjected thoughts in italics …

lady lawyerlawyer

Saturday, August 23, 2014
Slaton still in the race

Circuit Judge Tegan Slaton is currently hospitalized on the mainland, but he remains in his judicial race, his friend and campaign manager said this week.

Key West attorney Robert Cintron discussed incumbent Slaton’s status for the 16th Judicial Circuit (Monroe County) after the judge, 56, took a voluntary medical leave of absence shortly after being removed from the bench earlier this month.

That leave came two months after Slaton fell asleep on the bench during a child relocation hearing, for which he blamed on his ongoing medical issues and the sleep-inducing drug Ambien. Slaton had been recently prescribed the medication.

Actually, another judge removed Slaton from the bench that day, and a few weeks ago, Slaton was removed from the bench again because of how he was behaving.

“There is a lot of confusion right now, but the bottom line is this: Tegan Slaton is still a candidate up for re-election, and as of right now he has no intention of withdrawing from the race,” Cintron said. “He’s currently hospitalized for multiple medical issues.”

The confusion is Slayton’s doing via his not publicly disclosing what’s wrong with him.

Cintron added he would not discuss the specifics of Slaton’s medical issues.

“And he’s not going to turn over his medical records,” Cintron went on. “He doesn’t have an obligation to do so, and the law does not require him to do so. He has confidentiality to his medical records in that regard, and at this point he is going to exercise that confidentiality.”

Slayton has no legal obligation to provide his medical records to the public, but I imagine he would have to provide those records to a judicial fitness committee’s inquiry, if he wanted to have any chance of remaining on the bench. He could decline to turn his medical records over to a judicial fitness committee, if he resigned from the bench to end the inquiry. To say Slaton has no obligation to make public his medical records, when he has this history and is running for reelection, is both laughable and offensive. If Cintron and Slaton don’t know that, they are living in fantasy land.

That issue came up at the Hometown PAC forum Monday when one of the panelists mentioned Slaton’s absence and asked the other two candidates — Upper Keys attorney Jack Bridges, 46, and Key West attorney Bonnie Helms, 49 — about their medical histories.

Both responded that a judge’s health as far as being able to serve and work is important. Neither asked for Slaton specifically to turn over his medical records. However, both said they would turn over their records if asked.

“I respect Bonnie and Jack for responding, but they did not bring it up,” Cintron said. “They have a right, if they want, to disclose their medical records, but nobody has a right to insist someone else turn over their medical records.”

The public has every right, since the public just might end up before Slaton if he is reelected. Where did Cintron and Slaton go to law school?

Cintron added he advised Slaton not to discuss his medical issues with anyone other than his doctors and Cintron himself. Slaton has not been campaigning due to his health.

“If anyone wants to be angry with him because I’ve advised him to focus on his medical issues and his doctors … I’m sorry this happened in the middle of a campaign, but as I’ve said before, his health is the only thing that is important to me,” Cintron said.

Looks to me that Slaton running for office again is important to Cintron. I would think, as Slaton’s friend, Cintron would have told Slaton to drop out of the race, or find himself someone else to front for him. 

Cintron said he has discussed with the judge the possibility of dropping his campaign for the judge’s post.

“We have discussed the notion of withdrawing,” Cintron said, but the judge opted to remain a candidate.

Looks to me that Slaton opting to remain a candidate is a notion. From all I’ve heard, he was a good judge, but something caught up with him and he needs to deal with it. I wish him all the best.

Sloan blue

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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