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Key West the Newspaper – www.thebluepaper.com – portraits of the demise of Charles Eimers on South Beach last Thanksgiving Day, and the ensuing cover up.
Reported recently in the Citizen – www.keysnews.com:
Grand jury clears police in Eimers case
Report: Officers used ‘reasonable force’ restraining traffic stop suspect
Mayor Craig Cates said the city will address all of the grand jury’s recommendations.
“If we have to make any policy changes to improve our police department, we will,” Cates said.
City Commissioner Tony Yaniz went further, calling the grand jury’s report “vindication” for police.
In a nap dream yesterday, Tony Yaniz came to me, not looking in a happy mood, with a very large complicated white page with lots of writing on it, for me to sign off on. In the middle of the page was a small rectangle, which looked like a blackboard eraser. It was called, “the shadow.” I looked closely at it, and indeed there was a shadow cast underneath it onto the white paper. I thought, okay, I will sign off on this big whatever it is …
I awoke, figuring I needed to go online and see what was going on in reader comments underneath the Officer Gary Lee Lovette: “Me, I Dropped Like a F***ing Bomb On His Head… We Killed Him” cops off article in Key West the Newspaper – www.thebluepaper.com. After doing that, I opened the Grand Jury’s Final Report and FDLE Investigative Report links in the blue paper article. I read. I saw stuff that didn’t add up with the rest of the two reports. I thought what didn’t add up is the shadow.
I don’t know a neat and tidy way to proceed. So, I’ll start with the blue paper article.
The Grand Jury’s Final Report is in. No indictment will be handed out in response to the fatal Thanksgiving Day arrest of Charles Eimers.
The report – no matter how beneficial it is for the officers who could have faced criminal charges – throws more fuel than water on that fire. Indeed a summary contained in the FDLE Investigative Report, made public yesterday afternoon, of an audio recording captured during and immediately after the arrest is simply stupefying.
Apparently Officer Gary Lee Lovette inadvertently left the recording mechanism on his Taser in the on position for several hours after putting the Taser back into its holster. What follows is FDLE’s summary of the audio recordings:
- Officer Lovette told an unknown person that “we tackled him and got into a fight.”
- Officer Lovette stated “Me, I dropped like a fucking bomb on his head.”
- When an unknown male asked, who “killed” Eimers, Officer Lovette responded “Gabe”
- When asked “how bad did y’all beat him up, though?” Officer Lovette replies “Mainly just me.”
- Regarding the next phase, Officer Lovette acknowledges that there will be an investigation.
- Officer Lovette summarizes the event in several ways in different conversations:
- As a “police involved death”
- As an “in custody murder”
- In response to an unknown remark, Officer Lovette states “That would be funny if we didn’t just kill someone.”
- In response to an unknow remark, Officer Lovette states “We just killed someone.”
- In response to an unknown phone call Officer Lovette states “…yeah, well we killed him…”
- In response to an unknown person Officer Lovette states “He’s not breathing anymore.”
The recording is in line with the protests reportedly made by a New York police officer while witnessing the arrest, ‘this is legalized murder on the beach!’
It is interesting also that contrary to the police reports, several of the civilian witnesses interviewed by FDLE refer to excessive use of a Taser.
“A punch in the stomach,” says Treavor Eimers, about the Grand Jury’s decision to issue a “No True Bill” in the case involving the death of his father at the hands of Key West Police officers on Thanksgiving Day.
“My father was pursuing his dream of spending a warm winter in Key West volunteering and enjoying his retirement. He died before his first day was over.”
The “No True Bill” by the Grand Jury means that the jurors found no probable cause for the criminal prosecution of any of the officers involved in Eimers’ arrest.
Does the Grand Jury Report put the matter to rest? Hardly.
“First and foremost,” the Grand Jury concluded, “we commend those KWPD officers who did follow proper procedures during the incident… We find that KWPD officers on scene exercised the proper amount of force to apprehend and restrain Mr. Eimers.”
The Grand Jurors explain that their decision is based on the testimony of the only expert witness brought in by the State Attorney.
His name is Chuck Joyner. He is a professional defense witness for officers accused of excessive force. Joyner is famous for publicly defending a Houston police officer who shot and killed a wheelchair-bound double amputee. Joyner argued that because the one-armed, one-legged man was waving a ballpoint pen there was reasonable justification for the officer to shoot him square in the head.
It was Joyner’s job to convince the Monroe County Grand Jurors that they shouldn’t believe their lying eyes and ears. No expert witness was called to demonstrate how impossible it is to breathe while your shoulders are pinned down in the sand, as Eimers were. See our reenactment video here.
The Grand Jury seems to have been most impressed by the fact that the Medical Examiner found no sand in Eimers’ airways which seemed to invalidate witness accounts of asphyxiation. However, the Medical Examiner’s own notes reveal that after a week in the hospital, it would have been unlikely to find any sand in Mr. Eimers’ airways.
Q1 – Any changes expected in lungs with asphyxiation. He was face down in sand but doesn’t seem very long on video.
A1 – With sand – in fresh case – might find some sand in upper airway but he was in hosp for a week so less likely. I did not see any sand. Lung changes are non-specific.” – Notes of Dr. E. Hunt Scheuerman, [then] Monroe County Medical Examiner
A statement made by Dan Abrams, the Chief Legal Affairs anchor for ABC News, about the Ferguson Grand Jury proceedings in the Michael Brown shooting sheds light on the Grand Jury process:
“You don’t have to take it to the Grand Jury. But this allows the prosecutor with these sorts of warring narratives to say, ‘I didn’t make the decision. They did. The grand jurors did. The people did.’ But of course how vigorously the prosecutor presents the case is everything. There’s no defense attorney there. It’s just the prosecutor presenting a case to these grand jurors. If the DA wants an indictment, he’ll get an indictment. If the DA doesn’t want an indictment or has questions, that could be a very different thing.” – ABCnews.com 8/19/14
The Grand Jury report continues:
“We are extremely concerned about unprofessional conduct and statements that were made after the incident regarding the events of that morning… The internal affairs investigation should result in appropriate recommendations or sanctions for the officers involved regardless of their consequence or severity.”
“We also express serious concern about some aspects of the investigation conducted by the KWPD. First, insufficient efforts were made to promptly locate and interview civilian witnesses … Second, the KWPD clearly failed to timely communicate with LKMC about Mr. Eimers’ condition and whether or not the KWPD considered Mr. Eimers to be “in custody” while he was at the hospital.”
The Grand Jurors didn’t find indictable criminal actions, but they certainly sent the City and its police department on a soul searching mission:
“We further recommend that the KWPD offer additional mandatory training on the topics of stress management and sensitivity.” Is poor stress management and lack of sensitivity not a euphemism for violent and inappropriatly explosive behavior?
“The sensitivity training,” the Grand Jury Report continues, “should have a public and social awareness component.”
A lack of adequate training in the proper use of force is at the core of the civil rights lawsuit filed by the Eimers family against the City of Key West.
The Grand Jury and FDLE reports with their stunning new revelations including admissions to “Murder” by Officer Lovette and findings of inadequate training maybe a sign of more challenges to come for the City of Key West in the civil rights lawsuit initiated by the Eimers family.
I already had submitted this comment yesterday morning:
SLOAN BASHINSKY AUGUST 29, 2014 AT 1:20 PM
[To see all reader comments, click on this link: Officer Gary Lee Lovette: “Me, I Dropped Like a F***ing Bomb On His Head… We Killed Him]
To comprehend what I submitted to the blue paper yesterday afternoon and evening, you will need to open the Grand Jury’s Final Report and FDLE Investigative Report links. That will take a while to read. Here is what I submitted to the blue paper after I read the two reports:
[I asked about the drivers license because I had been told by a friend, who lives in his van, that he had learned firsthand that KW police officers bend and/or crease drivers licences of people they stop in vehicles, whom they suspect of being homeless.]
On Tony Yaniz’s Facebook page recently, of specific relevance are Naja’s two comments, to which Tony did not respond. I am unable to post anything into this thread, otherwise, I would post what I submitted to the blue paper, above.
As I was leaving Naja and Arnaud’s home last night, out on the side walk, one of Naja and Arnaud’s guests, who lives in Key West part of the time, said the Eimers case had really upset a lot of people in the city. I said, if those lots of people voted for Craig Cates or Margaret Romero last Tuesday, instead of for me, what are those people? Multiple personality disorder? Schizophrenic? What they are is big fat liars. The guest said that was a good point. The guest did not say who he had voted for.
Margaret Romero likes KWPD just the way they are. Tony Yaniz threw all of his political support behind Margaret in the mayor’s race. I was the only candidate in the race who made an issue of the Charles Eimers case, which candidate forum panelists did not mention. I said at the forums, if elect, the first thing I would do after being sworn in would be to apologize on behalf of Key West to the Charles Eimers family for KWPD killing their father on South Beach last Thanksgiving Day.
Last night brought an email from Ron Kennerly, a North Carolina developer who frequently vacationed in Key West with his wife when she was still living. Some years back, Ron’s grandson married my oldest Bashinsky first cousin Leo’s daughter. I only know Ron from many emails we have exchanged.
SLOAN – Two things: ….maybe three……..
First, KW missed a good chance to have a good Mayor. I don’t know about those people!! You offered really good solutions to most of the serious issues on the table. The more I thought about it the more I became convinced that the old navy property should not be a park ( no one needs it and it would clearly become a magnet for the homeless folk that KW wants to hide. Your suggestion of developing the land for Work Force housing, is by far, the highest and best use for the parcel.
Second, if you have time, check out today’s (Fri.8.29.14) Charlotte Observer… Lead story = Front Page 1, section A. Tazer conviction.
Third, Florida Grand Jury on Eimers death. Unbelievable !!! Surely the family will file a Civil suit, and should win. I usually don’t say this, but it seems about time for the ACLU. to assist the Eimers. or some of the good local lawyers working for a percentage of the award. Maybe they could hire John Grisham to write a lawyer adventure book about this travesty.
Regards, Ron Kennerly – have a good labor day weekend in paradise South.
Thanks, Ron –
The people down here don’t want really good solutions; they want what they have now.
The Eimers family filed a civil rights lawsuit in federal court quite a while back. The Grand Jury and Florida Department of Law Enforcement reports now being public might increase the pace of the federal litigation. Way things shaping up today, tomorrow’s post, in part at least, will be on Grand Jury and FDLE reports.
There is a very big dead skunk in the middle of the road down here, maybe that’s the “title” of tomorrow’s post at goodmorningkeywest.com.