~CAUTION! VIDEO SHOWS DISTURBING IMAGES~
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.
It became known as the “missing video.” Was it the same footage that a witness reported as possibly erased by two unnamed KWPD officers on the beach? Could it help answer the questions about the use of a Taser? The blow to the head? Yes or no – was Eimers head pushed into the sand? Was his head bleeding?
In fact we learned this week that FDLE had the phone number of the iphone videographer in Colombia all along but never made the call. The Eimers’ family attorneys did.
So here it is. The video begins like the first one on the pier at the end of Duval Street. Charles Eimers is initially perfectly compliant. He gets on his stomach, is being handcuffed, when all of a sudden he becomes agitated. An officer is heard saying, “Stop resisting!” At the 58 sec mark at least two officers are holding down his upper body while another officer is lifting a leg. We see what seems like one last jerk of the legs and then Charles Eimers is laying seemingly motionless in the sand.
Some officers move away and start to search the car while others are standing idly nearby. Then, all of a sudden, the officers appear to realize something is wrong. Eimers, whose legs appear to have been hobbled after he already lay still, is rolled over on his back and the hobble and handcuffs are removed.
Officer Gary Lee Lovette is seen trying to find a pulse. Everyone else appears frozen. Lovette pulls out a knife and cuts Eimers’ shirt off. Officer Gabriel Garrido arrives with a big red medical bag. Immediately you hear an officer – possibly Officer Henry DelValle – order the witnesses on the pier to move on,”You guys! Do me a favor – move out of this area. Move out of this area please! Go. Go-go-go.”
The Colombian tourist zooms in on Eimers’ face and yes, contrary to FDLE Kathy Smith’s findings, blood was running out of his ear and is even seen spilling down his cheek. His face is completely covered with sand. And “No”, said a physician we consulted, “bleeding from the ears is not a symptom of ventricular fibrillation.” The Medical Examiner’s hypotheses had been that Eimers died of cardiac arrest due to an abnormal heart rhythm [“ventricular fibrillation”]. The evidence of blood in the ear is consistent with Officer Lovette’s inadvertent and incriminating admissions: “Me. I dropped like a f***ing bomb on his head,” and “I slammed my elbow down into the back of his head and the guy quieted down.” The presence of sand was down-played and the presence of blood was denied in the FDLE report submitted to the Medical Examiner.
But the new video supports the civilian witnesses account, which is contrary to the testimony of certain police officers who claim Eimers was never face down in the sand. Civilian witnesses said Eimers face was “caked up with sand,” and that he had “sand in the mouth and nose.”
The new video also touches upon the controversial use of a Taser. According to at least three civilian witnesses Eimers was shocked with a Taser, but according to FDLE, police Taser firing data shows that none of the officers’ Tasers were fired that morning. On scene we hear one witness ask the Colombian tourist: “Did you see him when they were tasing him? When they had him on the ground?” and the witness imitates the sound of a Taser, “che-che-che-che-che” The Colombian tourist answers, “No,” but he had spent a good amount of time filming police cars on the street and his friends on the pier before he realized what had just happened. He then keeps the camera focused on Officers Lovette and DelValle who are desperately trying to revive the victim. EMS arrived thereafter and also tried to bring him back to life. But that was not going to happen.
Once again, the public is left having to question why a cruicial piece of evidence – that video – which was just one phone call away, was never secured by FDLE Agent Kathy Smith and presented to the Medical Examiner and why State Attorney Catherine Vogel likewise failed to secure the evidence and present it to the Grand Jury.
To access all Blue Paper articles on the death of Charles Eimers click here.
NOTE ABOUT THE VIDEO: At the request of the videographer, some audio containing commentary by the videographer has been detached. Additonally, at the request of the videographer, approximately 13 seconds was deleted showing friends of the videographer standing on the pier. Video provided by Darren Horan, attorney for the Eimers family.