karma’s a bitch: storm troopers, murder, lies, cover up, destruction of evidence, obstruction of justice and, uh oh, video tapes in Key West

Charles Eimer's take downCharles Eimers smotheredEimers police investigating selfEimers Mr. and Mrs. Smith

Depress ctrl and + keys together to increase text size; depress ctrl and – keys together to reduce


Today’s fun is the murder of Charles Eimers by Key West Police Department storm troopers last Thanksgiving Day, and the ensuing massive cover up, destruction of evidence, and obstruction of justice, which spans the Key West Police Department, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, State Attorney Catherine Vogel and her office and the grand jury she convened, and, according to John Donnelly, of Key Largo, the United States Department of Justice.

First today, Key West the Newspaper’s (www.thebluepaper.com) teaser for its breaking news report today on yesterday’s deposition of Key West Police Chief Donie Lee in the federal court lawsuit filed by lawyers representing the sons of Charles Eimers, followed by reader comments to that article.


A wrecking ball crashed through the City’s defense to the Eimers police brutality case on Friday.  At a scheduled deposition Chief Lee was expected to provide bureaucratic information about the City’s procedures and policies in the wrongful death case filed by the Eimers family against the City of Key West and 13 police officers.

But instead he spent over two hours freefalling into a seemingly endless pit opened by allegations of  “perjury” committed by his officers.  At issue was the surprise new bystander video that showed up this week from Colombia.   Unlike the first video, it shows Eimers arrest all the way to the point of his death.  A fact that turns out to be devastating to the somewhat creative and more favorable stories cooked up by some of the officers.

“Sir, we’ve gone to the trouble, in preparation for various motion practice,” said attorney Robert McKee, “of taking every question and answer of your officers who were under oath and every time their answers were not what the video showed. There are pages and pages of it”…. and down we went. […full article]

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. Just back from Miami. Opening Night of our show “Five Guys Named Moe”. Sellout crowd at the Lyric Theater in ‘Overtown’. “Rave Reviews” from the Miami Herald and other critics…..

    Now to the business at hand…..

    I’ve been informed that the FDLE supervisor and special agents overseeing the killing of Mr. Eimers, coordinated and colluded with the State Attorney’s Office, to included some of its investigators and prosecutors; in exchanging possible story line interpretations, information and evidence; designed to develop a work product that could be used to conceal and cover-up the commission of any crimes that might have led up to, and followed, the murder of Mr. Eimers.

    Based upon this information, it appears that some individuals within KWPD may have actively participated in, and facilitated this criminal conspiracy. The evidence suggests that a fraud may have been perpetrated upon the ‘grand jury’, residents of Key West and the United States of America.

    The aforementioned malfeasance, has been typically punished with lengthy terms of hard time in our toughest prisons. If found guilty, for the cast of characters allegedly involved in these crimes, it would mean a death sentence.

    My pleas for an independent, impartial, accurate and detailed investigation of the killing of Mr. Eimers were ignored.

    It appears that the intent and focus of those responsible to secure a truthful and valid examination of this tragedy; were instead concentrated upon destroying evidence, suppressing and tampering with the facts, intimidating witnesses and obfuscating justice; in preparation for a skewed and biased proffering of their findings to our ‘grand jury’.

    Apparently, this travesty of justice has been unraveling for awhile. Dealing with similar issues, I’ve described the process.

    Although the wheels of justice grind slowly; the rats will jump ship, turn on one another, inform (snitch) on everyone they can, cut a deal with anyone who’ll have them, and accept any plea deal they may be given. It has been my experience, the type of alleged crimes addressed in Mr. Eimers’ death are usually punished with an extended stay in prison.

    I’ve been apprised that the continued festering of this wound has become a source of embarrassment, rendering a ‘black mark’ upon the Justice Department. Although undergoing a change in leadership, they’ve described the ‘criminal negligence’ implicated in this matter, as having reached a ‘tipping point’.

    Arnaud and Naja Girard are working their miracle via The Blue Paper…

  2. Donnie Lee sure looks uncomfortable in this video. He knows the end is near. You and your “jack booted thugs” are going down. Be afraid Donnie Lee, be very afraid!

  3. Wow, just Wow!! there you have it Key West; your mighty chief of a paramilitary organization of jackbooted thugs looking like a frightened 10 year old boy. really, this is a chief of police? hardly seems like a commanding presence to me; just a typical bully finally confronted with a force greater (and smarter) than he. and he just bends over like a limp noodle. as Mr. Donnelly has said, look for the rats of this sinking ship start to jumping all over each other to broker deals.

    still doesn’t mean they will be held accountable; never underestimate the intimidation factor they can wield. there is a reason why juries routinely set guilty cops free in seemingly slam dunk cases.

  4. Thank you Naja and Arnaud. Just my ex-Alabama lawyer opinion, Chief Lee and the 13 police officers involved in the Eimers case, and their supervising officer, Scott Smith, husband of Kathy Smith, should be put on administrative leave immediately by City Manager Jim Scholl, to whom Chief Lee directly answers. If Scholl does not do that by the next city commission meeting, Mayor Cates and the six city commissioners, to whom Scholl directly answers, should order Scholl to put Lee and those officers on administrative leave.

    As for your comments, John Donnelly, if you have personally asked officials in the US Department of Justice (DOJ) to investigate this case, and through your own investigation of this case and of the DOJ you have learned DOJ officials and State Attorney Catherine Vogel and the two assistant state attorney prosecutors she assigned to the grand jury also were in on the conspiracy you outline, then those DOJ officials, Vogel and her two prosecutors are as guilty in the cover up and destruction of evidence as the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the KWPD. Meaning, I’m asking you to tell us the names of the DOJ officials, with whom you seem to have spoken, and the names of any DOJ officials you say are part of the conspiracy. As to anyone being at risk to the death penalty in this case, this ex-lawyer thinks that at the very least would require premeditation by the person or persons who actually did the killing, and the death penalty would not apply to people who after the fact participated in cover up and destruction of evidence and refusal to prosecute, etc. I agree, however, anyone who did participate after the fact, as you described, should do hard prison time for a good while.

  5. I am glad to see in today’s Key West Citizen article on the deposition yesterday, that the Citizen is not turning a blind eye like the city mayor and city commissioners and city manager are doing. I hope the Citizen now will aggressively go after the cover up, destruction of evidence and obstruction of justice by Chief Lee, his officers, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and State Attorney Catherine Vogel and the two assistant state attorneys she assigned to dupe the grand jury. I personally think the grand jury was in on the cover up. I think the grand jury did what it wanted to do, instead of what it was required to do. What the grand jury wanted to do was whitewash this case and let the police officers off, because they believed Charles Eimers was homeless. Thus believing, they behaved like good Nazis should behave.

  6. WOW! WOW! WOW! Massive KUDOS to David and Darren Harran and the entire the legal team. Incredible work. Kickin ass and takin names baby!!! What a gift to have these upstanding and truth devoted on the side of the people!!!!!!! And to Naja, Arnaud and the Blue Paper….. You guys ROCK!!!! Thank you for your selfless reporting on behalf of us all. Peace, love and prayers to you all.

  7. Where I practiced law, Alabama, it was a rule of evidence in litigation, that the trier of fact, either a judge or a jury, was entitled to make every adverse inference against a defendant the trier of fact finds covered up and/or destroyed material evidence. That law also applied in federal litigation in Alabama. I imagine that’s still the law there, and I imagine that’s the law in Florida, too.

Next today, the blue paper teaser for the article breaking the second video, followed by reader comments, which grew in number, interest and intensity after I published the reader comments to that article in yesterday’s evolution of the species in paradise, Key West comedy hour variations post at www.goodmorningkeywest.com.


Colombia!  The missing iphone video of Charles Eimers’ death was in Colombia!

“Once we had the phone number,” says Darren Horan, it took less than 48 hours to get a copy.”  He is one of the five lawyers representing Charles Eimers’ family in a suit against the City of Key West and 13 police officers who were involved in the fatal arrest of the 61-year-old tourist, Charles Eimers, last Thanksgiving.

On November 28, 2013, while KWPD officers were busy arresting Eimers on South Beach, a couple from Colombia was filming the incident with their iphones.  Nearly a year ago the first bystander video went viral and shattered the initial official police version of events describing an old man running away from police on the beach and collapsing due to a sudden heart attack.  But in that video, aside from the controversy it raised about police action, there was one nagging detail:  an unknown man was shown also filming the incident.  But no one could ID that second tourist. […full article]

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. Wow!!! What we knew all along about the KWPD. Six minutes of murder caught on video. What say ye now citizens of Key West? What say ye now Mayor Cates and commissioners? What say ye now Donnie Lee? Will you continue to pretend it didn’t happen, and continue this blatant cover up? Or will you do the right thing and clean house? My guess is you will continue to support the rampant corruption and war on the homeless.

    Terrific job Naja and Arnaud, keep the pressure on!

  2. Absolutely frightening that so many people would be involved in a cover-up of a man’s death. Abject corruption is too kind a description.

  3. I notice in today’s Citizen a brief mention that Capt Scott Smith is now working for the Public Defender’s office.Is that part of the State Attorney’s turf? Is he on paid admin leave from the KWPD?
    What’s he doing there?
    Not sure I would want him defending or sifting evidence for anyone…

  4. “it’s our job to listen and be a partner…we are a paramilitary organization”… Donnie Lee , Key West Police Chief.

    • Paramilitary? Seriously? He and his buddies at the MCSO have been buying military equipment for at least 17 years that I’m aware of. Cops have no need for this stuff. They’re a bunch of wannabes who have serious mental issues, and who have massive chips on their tiny shoulders. If it weren’t for their extenders, they’d have nothing.

  5. this is excellent! I still do not have much hope that this will result in criminal charges against the police, but this will certainly push the civil suit to the proper conclusion. hopefully the money damages will infuriate the Key West citizenry sufficiently to oust the mayor, city manager, commissioners, and donie lee and his jackboots.

    did you catch donie lee saying that he and his force are a paramilitary organization in Mr. Adlers article? he should be removed for that alone.

    • It should result in criminal charges and should open the case back up. It should also result in criminal charges for Ms. Smith, who is complicit in the coverup. They are murderers, one and all.

  6. After reading this latest blistering expose of KWPD, Florida Department of Law Enforcement and State Attorney Catherine Vogel and her top prosecutors and the grand jury, I opened today’s Key West Citizen online – http://www.keysnews.com – and read its article on the second Eimers video. There is plenty in the Citizen article which tries to shift the blame onto Eimers for how the cops treated him on South Beach last Thanksgiving Day. If those cops had not thought Charles Eimers was homeless, they would have treated him differently. He indeed came to Key West to do God’s work by being the vehicle through which God, aided by the blue paper and the Horan law firm, showed Key West, its citizens and the people of the Florida Keys and the world what kind of police department the city really has, and that its city officials like that kind of police department, evidenced by their steadfast support of Chief Lee and his cops, despite the good efforts of the blue paper and the Horan law firm. Charles Eimers also was used by God to show the Florida of Department of Law Enforcement, State Attorney Catherine Vogel and her prosecutors, and the grand jury they convened to investigate the death of Charles Eimers were, and are, a sham.

    A suggestion to people of Key West, who are outraged over how Mayor Cates and the city commissioners have dealt with this case, so far. Go to the next city commission meeting and, during closing citizen comments, when citizens are allowed to speak to any issue they wish to speak for up to 3 minutes, take that opportunity to state your name and street address, which is required, and then tell Mayor Cates and the commissioners, and the television viewing audience, just how upset you are with the way they handled the Charles Eimers case. And, if you voted for Mayor Cates or for Margaret Romero in the recent election, also tell Mayor Cates, the city commissioners and the TV audience that you blame yourself as much as you blame them, because you approved their handling of the Charles Eimers case when you voted for Mayor Cates or for Margaret Romero.

    • KWPD uses his alleged ‘homeless’ situation as an excuse, yet just try to get the KWPD to get rid of a true homeless bum living in a van on a city street, peeing and pooping on city sidewalks. They won’t go close to that. Duplicitous.

      • Er, Susan, where did you get this information? Homeless people are targeted, harassed, threatened and jailed ongoing by KW police for real and made up (invented) on the sport crimes. Hatman, who had lived in his van in Key West for many years, was framed by KW police, and Judge Wayne Miller went along with the frame – I watched it happen during the trial. The cops claimed Hatman had a bucket in his van, which smelled like feces, but they produced no such bucket at trial; the bucket was not mentioned in their incident reports. At trial was the first Hatman ever heard of a bucket smelling like feces, Hatman told me. He said he did have a bucket in the van, but why would he crap in it, when he was sleeping in there? The cops invented the bucket smelling like feces, because the legislative history/rationale of the anti-living-in-a-vehicle city ordinance was people living in their vehicles allegedly posed a serious threat to public welfare and safety, and to tourism.

        Those cops roughed Eimers up because they thought he was living in his PT cruiser. Even the mullet rapper (the Citizen) reported the cops thought Eimers was homeless. This was a hate crime, except the man the cops killed was not, in fact, homeless. But, alas, because he was perceived by the cops to be homeless, that made it … excusable? I don’t imagine any of the cops involved are making that lame argument; they are letting other people make it for them, it seems, though.

  7. Sadly, it is clear that (many) in the KWPD feel above the law, right up to the officer in charge; as well as some in the FDLE. This investigation has taken way too long. Maybe a way to speed things up, is to SUSPEND every person involved WITHOUT PAY, including Donnie Lee, until its resolved. Might make some come forward and tell the truth so this tragedy can be put to rest.

  8. I continue to be very sad about what appears to be a cover up – not to mention the tragic death of a man. I don’t mean to diminish that life. I’m not sure how the evidence was kept from the Grand Jury, but there certainly is enough evidence to cast a very suspect eye on the KWPDwhen all the information is considered. Could it be there really was a conflict of interest on the part of Special Agent Supervisor Kathy Smith? When we read now that she is suspended because she allegedly lied about whether she was married to her legally divorced husband on mortage papers, we have to wonder whether she was trustworthy. I don’t know the law, but I sure hope this case can be revisited. Thanks to the Blue Paper for all it does to keep this case alive!

  9. I would have to go so far as to say the Citizen is complicit in all of this. They have managed to delete a lot of details on this case from day-one.

  10. Just watched the entire thing. Just look at all of those waddling, overweight cops!!! They have nothing better to do than to kill an innocent 61 year old visitor to Key West. Folks, this could easily happen to any one of us or our loved ones, because we know the KWPD dislikes the locals more than they dislike the visitors.

  11. I would love to see this covered on CBS Evening News and 60 Minutes. They did an initial story in May, but this info and the Kathy Smith fraud info really exposes this for the murder and cover-up that it is.

    Blue Paper, contact them!!!!

    The Mayor and Commissioners need to quickly become active on this issue. It could save their political butts if they actually DID something.

  12. Ar around 3:40 in the video there’s a good view of what I call “The Swarm”. Thirteen officers on scene means 13 cruisers. Whenever there’s a ‘situation’ it seems like every policeman on duty feels compelled to drive to the location, for reasons that aren’t clear to me. Who’s out there protecting the rest of the city?

  13. I think we are lucky that Kathy Smith was so….oh, pick a word… lazy, criminal, stupid, that she didn’t track down the cell phone owner. My guess is that video would have “mysteriously” disappeared, and we would never have known about it. Major kudos to the Eimers’ attorneys for tracking it down, and again I have to thank Naja and Arnaud and TheBluePaper.com for having the guts for reporting this absolutely repulsive story. Mayor, Commissioners, City Manager, Catherine Vogel…grow some cajones and do the right thing. These criminal cops MUST be prosecuted and ANY elected leader that continues to ignore, keep silent, or worse, protect these people should be arrested for complicity as well. Unfortunately stupidity is not a crime.

  14. This homicide coverup is not happening in a vacuum, it’s happening in the environment of a vicious conspiracy against local homeless citizens, one of which, the arresting officers assumed Mr Eimers was.
    I submit the conspiracy leaders are among the wealthiest owners in key west and that they are members in good standing of our dear Chamber of Commerce. “Visibly homeless people are bad for business” the merchants say. [as if the tourists have never seen homeless people where the tourists come from, hahaha]
    The anti-homeless campaign isn’t laid out on paper, the architects are silent in public, they only speak their malicious slanderous de-humanization of poor people in private chambers. The city’s minions get the point that there’s no protection for the under-class homeless and all methods is de facto aproved to eradicate their obvious presence in our puffed-up “paradise” including thuggery. Prejudice against the homeless is cool and condoned in the coral city.
    Look at the local corporate newspaper always saying “homeless man [or woman]” in every headline when they do something wrong. That is biased reporting to make the condition of homelessness almost sound like a criminal occupation.
    The shame of the unintentional homicide of Mr Eimers is borne by more than the perpetrators, it also belongs to the tourist operators who encourage municipal prejudice against poor people without shelter.
    Key West, the city of “one human family,” would love to do better than to follow the lead of the bigots of commerce…

  15. Amiga Hope, of Birmingham, Alabama, wrote to me about this article:
    So how many KW policemen and police cars does it take for a traffic stop? There were a lot in the new video.

    I replied:
    The traffic stop occurred elsewhere in Key West.
    Eimers then left the scene, that cop said. Then that cop followed Eimers, and must have called in for back up, and they trailed him to where the video was shot. At first there were perhaps 4 or 5 police cruisers there. Then, according to a friend of mine’s report in a blue paper comment, there were 13 cruisers he counted in the 2nd video only now made public by the blue paper, after a long time of nobody knowing who had shot that video or where that video was. Perhaps it was all the cruisers and officers there on duty at that time. Leaving the rest of Key West cop-less, was my friend’s point. I think it’s a phenomenon sort of like rubbernecking, when there is a accident or cops make an arrest on a road, and all passing vehicles slow down to see what’s going on, and the road becomes gridlocked as a result. If one or two cops are good, more cops are better in cops’ thinking? Now if Eimers had pulled out an AK 47 and was shooting or threatening to shoot at cop cars and officers, that would have been an entirely different situation. Maybe a few less cruisers would have rushed to the event :-) ?
    I have this theory that this all was orchestrated by angels, Eimers was taken over by them, he behaved loopy therefore at the first traffic stop, then he left the scene in a dazed state, he’d just said he came here to do God’s work, and the rest was in the cards to happen, because he was going to die soon from a heart attack in any event and this was the most useful way for the angels to assist his departure and bring to light in a really big time way what every homeless person in Key West knows many (not all) of the local police are like. And to similarly light up in a big time way how the police department deals with out of control officers, and how the department protects them and covers up and even destroys evidence; in this case, they tried to get the body cremated so there could be no autopsy. Then, they got to the county medical examiner, to the point he resigned and took a job several states away before he released his medical findings, which looked like maybe he had taken dictation from the police department. The Florida Department of Law enforcement did about the same in its investigation. As did the local state (district) attorney and her prosecutors and the grand jury they convened. All of that the angels used Charles Eimers to light up in a big way, is how I see it.

    Hope wrote:
    And Ferguson thinks it has a problem….

    I replied:
    Based on what I read online and saw on the TV news, I think Ferguson actually does have a problem; it’s police force, apparently, historically have been kinda like Key West’s, but the trigger point in Ferguson has been white cops going after black people. We have that in Key West, too, but here the black people have been subdued; they have given up; they mostly just endure. In Ferguson, the blacks have not caved in, is my impression. And they have a black-ish US President and his black Attorney General looking into it, as I recall. But Ferguson is not on my plate, not directly. Key West is, and, yes, we have a big mess in our police department, and I have no clue how that will go. It’s one step in that hell after another. Perhaps another way of saying chop wood, carry water? :-) I love your wit and short but pointed “darts” at what needs poking.
    And, :-) , Key West has a special feature, unique actually, which is in full play in the Eimers case. Key West prides itself as being THE city, the ONLY city, whose official philosophy is the so-called “all people are created equal members of one human family.” So just naturally God decided to test Key West on that; and just as naturally God decided to use Jesus to test Key West on that, since Jesus himself was homeless during his ministry, and since Jesus told people in the Gospels, as they did to the least of people, they did also for him. I imagine those those police officers in the Eimers case are Christians. I imagine Mayor Cates and the city commissioners and the city manager and the city attorney and the chief of police are Christians. And I imagine a goodly number of Key West residents who don’t want homeless people around here are Christians, or some other faith which teaches inclusion, not exclusion. And thus did suspected homeless man Charles Eimers indeed come to Key West to do God’s work, although I don’t imagine he understood just how that would play out. Meanwhile, the Thanksgiving candlelight Charles Eimers memorial at the scene of the murder is coming up, and it will be interesting to see just how many Key West people show up, and thus show their faces :-) .

  16. Key West’s psychiatrist emeritus, Jerry Weinstock, M.D., wrote to me about this article.

    Sloan: We all have pent up feelings –sometimes intense hostile feelings bottled up===REPRESSED —I have always thought the Eimers tragedy had something to do with that element of our instinctual natures..
    He (the victim ) got into the cross hairs of someones repressed hostility and once it spewed out –the rest –or some of the rest —in them(police) an outlet was triggered –and Eimers —got the result of conscious and unconscious wrath–bottled up and aged to a white hot intensity…. EVERYTHING IS MORE COMPLICATED THAN IT SEEMS—-that is what I deal with helped by a medical background. literary, philosophical , political it all comes into play—–Dostoevsky maybe had more to do with this case as far as insight than many other factors —(he and other creative insightful great authors..)—-my take —-this is a metaphorical case and will echo down the corridors of time and history.
    —isn’t ISIS tribal and religious frenzy based on the core of deep instinctual human nature—-who would behead if that didn’t have heretical hatred—of an intense degree.—-sociology/ theology enters into this—as well. Religion instead of understanding fosters antagonism— I will stick with atheism—freedom of thought.———have an illuminating day–Jerry

Next today, is the blue paper’s announcement of the Thanksgiving Day candlelight memorial for Charles Eimers at the scene of the murder, followed by my submitted reader’s comment.


charles eimers memoriam

Gweko Phlocker has organized a Candlelight Memorial to honor Charles Eimers and his family on the one year anniversary of his death [Thanksgiving Day].  The event will begin at 6:00 pm at South Beach [at the foot of Duval Street] where Mr. Eimers died.  Here is a link to the facebook event.

On Tue, Nov 18, 2014 at 9:02 AM, Joshua Eimers wrote to Gwecko Phlocker:

“I’m the youngest son of Charles Eimers. I wanted to reach out to you to say thank you for organizing this. Although my family and I won’t be there in person we’ll be there in spirit. As will Charles John. I myself am just not ready emotionally to attend. I’m welling up as I type this to you. My father was a great man who impacted countless lives. One of the most selfless and caring people that I had the pleasure of calling dad. He’s dearly missed by many. Thanks again for doing this it means a lot to us that our father’s death hasn’t been simply forgotten. Our wounds are still fresh. Thanks and God Bless.”  ~ Joshua Eimers [from Facebook Event page]  ……………….  click ‘full article’ to comment [or view comments]

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. Josh, it’s hard to know how many people in Key West and nearby are outraged over what happened to your father. However, some those of us down here who are outraged, like Arnaud and Naja Girard, and the Horan law firm, who put our real names with our outrage in plain view down here, put our own lives at risk, and even the lives of our close relations. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I read believable reports that your father was not a saint, that he had a checkered past, which I do not fault, for I certainly have a checkered past, as do most people I know down here and elsewhere. However, I will be at the candlelight service, even though I never knew your father. Other people who never knew your father will be there. And that, again, will be putting their lives at risk down here. I am not concerned about myself; sometimes I feel I would like to be bumped off, to get it over with. Just another of my opinions, Josh: this is a good time for you to man up and be here for the candlelight ceremony. I hope you will do that.

After I saw Naja Girard had deleted my comment, I sent in this comment.

Naja, I was told in a dream before dawn today to submit that comment to Josh. And in a later dream, Arnaud came to me and said an investigation was incomplete, the Nazis needed to be included, which led to my submitting the comment with the police doing what good Nazis do.

Next today is today’s Key West Citizen (www.keysnews.com) report on the depositions.

Saturday, November 22, 2014
Video shows Eimers bleeding from ear
Police chief deposed by family’s lawyers Friday
BY GWEN FILOSA Citizen Staff

Key West police went out of their way to avoid collecting evidence in the Charles Eimers case, including a newly discovered video that shows his face coated in sand and blood smeared over his ear, attorneys for the dead man’s family said Friday.

The attorneys said they tracked down the video, taken by a bystander, in one day while police had a year to reach the photographer on a telephone number included in police reports.

During a series of depositions taken by the family’s attorneys Friday, held at the Old Town offices of Horan, Wallace and Higgins, one frame from the new six-minute video was held up on posterboard often.

The image is a close-up of Eimers’ sand-covered face. His right ear appears torn and clearly bloody.

“What caused Mr. Eimers’ inner ear to bleed?” attorney Robert McKee, representing the dead man’s family, asked Police Chief Donie Lee at one point during a deposition taken Friday.

“I don’t know,” Lee replied.

In depositions taken by the lawyers representing the Michigan man’s family, Lee and three officers were accused of “covering up” the incident, which started with a traffic stop last Thanksgiving morning and ended with Eimers being taken off life support six days later.

On Nov. 28, 2013, Eimers, 61, was held facedown on the sand of South Beach after leading police on a slow-speed car chase through Old Town that ended when he ran out of pavement at the edge of Duval Street.

The county medical examiner ruled the death accidental, attributing it to Eimers’ weak heart and poor condition overall. And a grand jury cleared all 13 officers named in the pending federal lawsuit filed by the man’s children.

But the wrongful death suit remains pending at U.S. District Court.

A jury trial is scheduled for April 6.

This week, Key West attorney Darren Horan released to reporters a second video taken by a bystander watching a band of police officers restrain Eimers that morning. Eimers surrendered to police, dropping to his knees and lying facedown on the sand, another video shows.

But in the second video, which police saw for the first time Thursday, Eimers is seen making hardly a move as officers hover over him.

Police maintain that Eimers was kicking and resisting being handcuffed. At some point he turned blue, police reports say, and officers turned him over.

The new video shows that it was more than one minute before police began applying life-saving measures. Paramedics reported that they arrived to find a man without a pulse on the beach.

Eimers’ family authorized hospital staff to take him off life support Dec. 4.

Police blasted

The new video of the Eimers takedown, taken by a visitor to Key West, shows the man’s face caked in sand while he lays motionless on his back while several officers hover over him.

In depositions taken this month, all but two of the officers involved testified that Eimers had no sand on his face.

“Were they all just lying?” McKee, of Weston, asked Lee of the officers who worked the Eimers scene.

“I don’t agree with that,” Lee replied. “I don’t agree that most of what they said didn’t happen.”

McKee deposed Lee, Sgt. Joe Trippe, who leads internal affairs, and Officer Richard Thomas, a field training officer, on Friday. Court reporters documented the sworn statements with a video camera along with one reporter repeating every word into a recording device.

Trippe said Eimers’ death falls under the definition of an in-custody death but doesn’t reach the level of a deadly force case.

McKee spent hours pointing out discrepancies in what officers have recalled in depositions and what the new videotape shows.

One officer has testified that Eimers was “sitting up” at one point, which never happened and another talked about police pulling the man to his feet, which the video shows never took place.

“It’s not what we see on the video,” McKee told Lee.

“Bob, please lower your voice,” said the city’s attorney, Michael Burke, from across the table in a small conference room crowded with 14 people at one point.

“You’re an honorable man but you’re in charge of them, right?” McKee asked Lee.

The two trial attorneys clashed earlier during the deposition of Trippe. Burke stood up and looked around the room saying he didn’t see a jury in the room.

McKee said a jury could view the videotaped depositions.

“Yes, the jury is here and I hope they are listening,” McKee said.

“You’re not going to see a jury in this case,” Burke replied.

McKee said he had taken on Exxon and other corporations.

“I’m after the officers as well as justice for my client,” McKee said, then asked for the group to take a break.

Trippe told McKee there was no “cover up,” when the phrase was tossed at him during questioning.

McKee said every deposition taken of a Key West police officer involved in the Eimers case includes “fabricated” claims, amounting to “fiction.”

“It’s pages of false statements under oath,” McKee said.

Key West police didn’t know Eimers had died at Lower Keys Medical Center on Dec. 4, six days after the beach arrest. The detective in charge failed to keep tabs on the suspect.

Lee and the rest of the police department learned Eimers was dead on Dec. 11.

“Is that because of incompetence of your department?” McKee asked the chief.

Lee replied, “Yes.”

Taser accusations fly

Three witnesses interviewed by police that day said they saw police use a Taser stun gun on Eimers while he was lying flat on the beach, McKee said.

On the newly released video, an unknown man’s voice can be heard asking the person taping the scene, “Did you get them Tasing him?”

The same man asking the question then makes a sound imitating the buzzing of a stun gun.

Officer Kathyann Wanciak, who was deposed last on Friday, said she saw Officer Gary Lee Lovette place a Taser on Eimers’ back but said he did not use it.

Wanciak also said she didn’t see the blood on Eimers’ ear that day. Police reports include the mention of blood getting on an officers hands. All officers wore blue latex gloves during the Eimers takedown, the video shows.

McKee accused Lovette of using the Taser on Eimers’ ear.

“It turns out there was no Taser ever used,” Chief Lee said.

“Oh, we’ll get to that,” McKee replied.

McKee argued that Lovette left his Taser on throughout the rest of the day after the Eimers incident in order to erase anything recorded while he was handling Eimers.

Lovette is recorded on the Taser saying Eimers was very strong and was “fighting” the officers or “beating the s— out of six of us,” FDLE reported in its report which found officers acted appropriately.

Lovette is also recorded on the Taser saying, “Me? I dropped like a f—ing bomb on his head,” and at one point said, “We just killed someone.”

Lovette is the only officer named in the lawsuit who has retained his own attorney, Lyman Reynolds, based in West Palm Beach.

Attorney Andrea Amigo represented the firm on Lovette’s behalf on Friday.


As I wrote to the blue paper this morning, I am glad to see the Citizen is not turning a blind eye like the city mayor and city commissioners and city manager are doing.  I hope the Citizen now will aggressively go after the cover up, destruction of evidence and obstruction of justice by Chief Lee, his officers, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and State Attorney Catherine Vogel and the two assistant state attorneys she assigned to dupe the grand jury. I personally think the grand jury was in on the cover up. I think the grand jury did what it wanted to do, instead of what it was required to do. What the grand jury wanted to do was whitewash this case and let the police officers off, because they believed Charles Eimers was homeless. Thus believing, they behaved like good Nazis should behave, at depicted in Arnaud Girard’s editorial “cartoon”.

Charles Eimer's take down

Last in today’s fun house is the blue paper teaser on the FDLE special investigator Kathy Smith article, followed by juicy reader comments.


Issue-58-Mr-and-Mrs-Smith-for-web-800x586FDLE Special Agent Kathy Smith was escorted out of her Marathon office on Wednesday.  She has reportedly been put on administrative leave pending investigation of mortgage fraud.

The Blue Paper reported last week that Agent Kathy Smith and her ex-husband Scott Smith [at the time a Police Captain employed by KWPD] appeared to have signed a false affidavitassociated with an advantageous mortgage.  They borrowed $ 461,500 on a house they had purchased in 2004 for $ 132,500.  The home is now in foreclosure.  In the affidavit the Smiths swore to the lender that they had been “continuously married” even though they had divorced four months previous.

Special Agent Kathy Smith was the lead investigator in the death of Charles Eimers.  FDLE’s failure to secure Eimers’ body for autopsy, to return calls to witnesses volunteering information and to collect and protect crucial evidence, made the investigation ever more controversial. […full article]

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. well, it’s a start! notice how it took something like mortgage fraud, which casts a poor light on the department to get them to act, but still nothing relating to the outright corruption she prosecuted in the Eimers case.

    do the editors know if she is still being paid during her leave?

    • It was okay with FDLE for Cathy Smith to violate FDLE rules for investigating a death in police custody case, then FDLE put Cathy Smith on administrative leave for perjuring mortgage loan documents. If that ain’t seriously you know what up, then what is it?

    • keysbum it is reported in the kw citizen as paid leave.

      “BY GWEN FILOSA Citizen Staff

      Kathy Smith, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigator who led the state’s probe into the 2013 death of Charles Eimers, was placed on paid administrative leave on Wednesday pending an inquiry into mortgage fraud allegations.”

    • This woman has been complicit in all the illegal activities of the KWPD and the MCSO for at least 18 years that I personally know of. Tried to report illegal activity long ago to FDLE in Tallahassee. They referred it down to her. Big joke.

      I’m thrilled to see her nailed. Notice, the mullet wrapper didn’t mention the house is in foreclosure, so that makes it even worse. They committed fraud to borrow probably $350,000 + and pocketed that, then obviously didn’t pay the mortgage. That’s fraud, but it’s not uncommon for the local cops.

I rather imagine Lady Kali agrees.


Sloan Bashinsky

Posted in Today's Cock-A-Doodle-Doo | Leave a comment