Grand Jury Clears All Officers in the Death of Charles Eimers / Vogel Brings In Expert Police Officer Defense Witness

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“This allows the prosecutor to say I didn’t take the decision.  The Grand Jury did it.  The people did it.  But of course, how vigorously the prosecutor presents the case is everything.  It’s just the prosecutor presenting a case to these Grand Jurors.  If the DA doesn’t want an indictment or has questions it could be a very different thing.”

-       Dan Abrams, “Nightline” anchor and Chief Legal Affairs anchor for ABC News, when speaking about the Grand Jury proceedings in the Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson, MO.

The Grand Jury’s Final Report was released this afternoon.  All Key West police officers involved in the death of Charles Eimers were cleared of any wrongdoing.

So, how “vigorously” did our State Attorney present the case for excessive force?

As we know, State Attorney, Catherine Vogel chose not to conduct her own independent investigation.  Instead, she had her assistant prosecutors Val Winter and Mark Wilson present FDLE’s findings to the Grand Jury, but announced on US 1 radio and in a press release that any other witnesses, who felt the urge to spontaneously come forward, could do so. This resulted in a few more witnesses coming forward – witnesses who had been found and urged to come forward by The Blue Paper and the Eimers family’s attorneys, Darren Horan and David Paul Horan.

What about the New York cop and his companions?  The one who Southernmost Beach Cafe employees say exclaimed that they were witnessing “legalized murder on the beach” that fatal Thanksgiving morning? Apparently, they did not just mosey into the Grand Jury room, as Ms. Vogel would have had them do.

So, who DID State Attorney Catherine Vogel go out of her way to bring in as a witness?    Enter, Chuck Joyner, a retired FBI agent and police officers’ [defense] expert witness.  A man who earns a living contracting with law enforcement agencies to train police officers and testify on their behalf in excessive force proceedings.  The same Chuck Joyner who publicly defended the actions of a Houston, Texas police officer who shot and killed a mentally ill double amputee because he was waving around a silver ballpoint pen.

Joyner testified that in his opinion KWPD officers could have appropriately used more force than they did to subdue Mr. Eimers.    Well, well, you don’t say.

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To access all Blue Paper coverage on the death of Charles Eimers click here.


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!

19 comments on “Grand Jury Clears All Officers in the Death of Charles Eimers / Vogel Brings In Expert Police Officer Defense Witness

  1. I just speed-read the Grand Jury report. Our fellow citizens were mightily impressed with Joyner’s credentials. They accepted new “facts,” that Eimers sounded “mentally ill” and was “speeding” through town, presenting a “danger” to others. They paid cursory attention to the video of the incident, using it to confirm no one “struck” Eimers on the head, which was never an issue, and that Eimers was “struggling,” without considering that he was doing so because he was being suffocated.

    Yes, a Grand Jury can indict a ham sandwich. Or set free murderers.

  2. Why am I not the least bit surprised by this. Catherine Vogel has lost all credibility with me and she needs to find another job to be incompetent at. Anyone watching the video could see that a single KWPD officer could have approached Charles Eimers and slapped handcuffed on him, he was not resisting and if KWPD had done that he would be alive today. This island needs a Ferguson, Missouri type of reaction for anything to change here because the f-ing bozos in charge sure as hell aren’t going to do it. We need to take our island back from these friggin bubbas.

  3. Naja, leaving Jack Flats, I kept sensing I should bicycle to your home and see what was up? I saw your daughter and her friend studying in the kitchen, and decided to head on to where I stay, thinking I was imagining I was supposed to see what was up? So, I arrive here and go online and – viola! – an email from the blue paper with what’s up.

    Besides not being surprised at what you reported, it appears therefrom that the Grand Jury did not consider the massive cover up, intimidation of witnesses, obstruction of justice, attempt to lose the body, etc, which also does not surprise me.

    You and Arnaud busted your tails investigating and reporting this latest chapter in BUBBA JUSTICE In Key West: Pooping on the People in Paradise. Won’t surprise me for the mayor and city commissioners and the rest of City Hall to bleat vindication.

    The city’s karma from this might prove interesting, although maybe few people in city hall, if anyone, will connect any dots. Maybe a few citizens will, though. I’m hearing, “No good deed goes unpunished”.

  4. How could the Grand Jury have reached that decision? Didn’t they talk to the eyewitnesses at all? To the NYPD cops? To the female KWPD officer who screamed that they were killing him? I do hope the family does not give up on this and takes it to the Supreme Court, if necessary. Hopefully, just because the Grand Jury (and if it was in KW, they might all be friends/family of the officers on the force – or just such fans, they think they can do no wrong) dismissed it, it won’t preclude their going to the higher courts. Don’t stop writing about it, please. It was dead wrong what the officers did and someone has to finally get justice for this poor man. It still gives me a sick feeling when I think of how he was treated and how it could have been me to have received such a welcome as he did, instead of the one I got when I moved to Key West all those years ago. When I think of how happy Charles Eimers must have felt to be retired – remembering my own elation about my own retirement – after all those years of working his entire adult life and then to think he only got to glimpse the ocean once before dying at their hands, I still want to cry for the injustice of it. I wish, and I hope and pray, that Chief Donie Lee, a man I’ve respected for many years and he knows this, will start making it a policy to drive to the scene of anything like this, and that he will do something to assure it never happens again. Surely in his heart of hearts, he knows it was wrong.

  5. Peggy, perhaps you should read Donie’s lips, instead of moving them for him.

    Naja, in this facebook thread started by Mark Ryno this evening, KWPD Officer Mike Wolf weighed in, perhaps not knowing I was following the thread. Then I called Wolf out, he responded, then I dropped the hammer on him.

    Mark Ryno
    7 hrs ·
    August 27, 2014
    A grand jury has concluded that 13 Key West Police officers did not use excessive force and that there were no criminal actions in the November 2013 death of Charles Eimers. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement, State Attorney Catherine Vogel and a grand jury have all thoroughly scrutinized the incident and today released their findings.
    The findings — based on in-depth interviews, testimony, audio and video recordings, and medical records — show that Eimers’s death was not the result of criminal conduct or excessive force on the part of the officers involved. The findings confirm that Eimers suffered from severe pre-existing health conditions.
    Eimers was pulled over in a traffic stop on North Roosevelt Blvd. on Thanksgiving Day, 2013, when an officer saw him driving erratically. During the traffic stop, Eimers fled the scene. Several officers pursued him as he drove around Key West, eventually driving his car up into the sand on South Beach. As he was being restrained and taken into custody, Eimers collapsed. Efforts to resuscitate him resulted in a renewed pulse, and he was transported to Lower Keys Medical Center. Eimers was put on life support and later died.
    “First and foremost,” reads the grand jury’s final report, “we commend those KWPD officers who did follow proper procedures, policies and protocols during the incident. In particular, we commend those officers who administered life-saving techniques to Mr. Eimers while waiting for medical rescue units to arrive…”
    The report continues, “Considering the totality of all the evidence presented, the amount of force used by KWPD officers was appropriate for the situation, reasonable under the circumstances, and clearly justified.”
    “We’re glad that this criminal investigation is concluded,” said Police Chief Donie Lee. “Although I have not been able to review in depth the evidence during FDLE’s investigation, I’ve felt confident since day one that our officers’ action did not cause Mr. Eimers’s death.”
    In accordance with KWPD policy, a supervisor on duty during the November incident called FDLE to notify that agency of a possible in-custody death. A long-standing agreement between the KWPD and FDLE exists to ensure that an outside agency takes the lead in investigating any such incident. This memorandum of understanding exists to ensure an objective, fair and independent investigation in any in-custody death or near-death. The FDLE concluded its investigation in June and released the findings to State Attorney Catherine Vogel, who in turn convened the grand jury.
    The grand jury report, while vindicating the officers of any criminal conduct, recommended an “all-inclusive” internal investigation into the incident. In fact, the report details that this has been Chief Lee’s intention since the incident occurred.
    “This has been a difficult several months for the Eimers family, the community, and our department,” said Lee. “We want to again express our condolences to the family. The investigation and the grand jury’s findings point to some policy issues that need to be addressed. As I’ve said since FDLE began this investigation, now that the criminal aspect is concluded, we will be opening and internal affairs investigation. We will look closely at any misconduct that might have occurred.”
    In addition, says Lee, the internal investigation will explore the case in its entirety, looking at any changes or adjustments that might improve departmental policies.
    LikeLike · · Share
    3 people like this.
    2 shares

    Meta Rettew What BS!
    7 hrs · Like · 1

    Gordon Edward Mackey pure unadulterated BS
    6 hrs · Like · 1

    Alan Ios Chiras BS.
    6 hrs · Like

    Chris Kennedy Burleigh Wow
    4 hrs · Like

    Sherrie Waltz Just devastated. What horrifies me the most, is that those jurors sat there and listened to all the eye witnesses and all the damning evidence. They listened to testimony of actual statements made by the police to witnesses about everything that happened that day,. These are our neighbors, friends, family. And THEY think it’s ok for the KW police to commit murder and then cover it up. They walk among us. Apparently human life is no longer important. At least not if you’re (suspected) homeless, a minority, drunk, in an argument or God Forbid, you slowly drive away from a police stop. You deserve to die. WTF?????????????????????? RIP Charles Eimers, so sorry we couldn’t do more.
    4 hrs · Like

    MiKey Hudson BS!!
    3 hrs · Like

    Mike Wolf Hi people. Ryno you probably know me. I’ve kept quiet until now because I knew justice would finally be served. I work with the shift that was involved with the Eimers case. I am sorry he died. I truly am. However the bashing of the police department is not justified. Each and every one of the officers involved is a professional in every sense of the word and I’ve been in stressful situations with every one of them. These are good people. Regular people. Doing a tough job. There are bad cops out there. These are not them. We are all very well trained and do our best every day. Please stop bashing the police just because it’s easy. Our job isn’t. Regardless of what you may choose to believe there was no police misconduct or any coverup in this incident. If anyone has questions that might alleviate any lingering concerns feel free to contact me personally mwolf@keywestcity.com.
    2 hrs · Like · 4

    Randy Earley I’d like to see all these people putting bs on this issue wear a badge and uniform for one day!!! Who do we call when we need help! Our police department does an amazing job serving an extremely diverse and needy community. Take a minute to thank them not bash them!
    1 hr · Like

    Sloan Bashinsky Earlier this evening, Key West the Newspaper – http://www.thebluepaper.com – published a breaking news article on Grand Jury’s findings. Perhaps, Mike, you should contact Naja and Arnaud Girard, who are friends of mine, about helping them resolve their lingering concerns over the Eimers case. I imagine they’d love to sit down with you and a video recorder, and have a long conversation with you.

    The Blue Paper | Key West The Newspaper
    thebluepaper.com
    The Blue Paper Issue #76 – Friday, Aug 22, 2014 …See More
    1 hr · Like · 1 · Remove Preview

    Mike Wolf Mr. Bashinsky this will be my only comment/response. I was not there. I didn’t need to be to speak of these officers character. Nothing that is being negatively reported happened. Nothing. Period. A man that was very sick made a poor decision. Officers attempted to save his life. It ended badly. I know first hand that several good people have been made to suffer needlessly over this. It has to stop. Please. Thank you.
    31 mins · Like

    Sloan Bashinsky Mike, you opened the door. Now you say you weren’t there. So, you don’t know what happened, other than what you were told, based on what you wrote to me. If the officers wrote up incident reports, which were contradicted by the bystander’s video, of which they were unaware, that spoke to their characters. If they told eye witnesses to be quiet, that spoke to their character. If they did not interview eye witness and take statements, that spoke spoke to their character. If they argued with a New York City police officer and did not write that in their incident reports, that spoke to their character. If officers later came back to South Beach pretending to be FDLE investigators, that spoke to their character. If a friend of Officer Lovette testified that Officer Lovette boasted about elbowing the bum in the back of the neck, that spoke to Officer Lovette’s character. If officers did not tell the paramedics what actually happened, that spoke to those officers’ character. Not calling the Eimers family spoke to that officer’s character. Taken the body to a mortuary, to be cremated, instead of to the Medical Examiner, to be autopsied, spoke to those officers’ character. If I were a local judge, I’d order on my own motion the Grand Jury’s proceedings, and all witness testimony, to be published in full, because this entire investigation looks cooked, from KWPD up to FDLE, and from FDLE down to State Attorney Cathy Vogel and the Grand Jury.

  6. Mike Wolf came back to me. I replied.

    Mike Wolf Ok. Sucked in. I currently work with all of the officers involved and absolutely CAN attest to their character. Good people and this is uncalled for. The above accusations are ludicrous and would have been considered by the grand jury. I cannot give an opinion as to what happened to Mr. Eimers after he left the beach. Don’t know. Just telling you you are WRONG. And please STOP. Again—-ENOUGH. As much as you and some others may want to believe KWPD doesn’t kill people. WHY would an officer do that??? To make his own life miserable? C’mon. As much as you may dislike police, in your heart of hearts you know this is ridiculous to continue.
    8 mins · Like

    Sloan Bashinsky You sucked yourself in, Mike. I have had good dealings with KWPD officers, and I have had terrible dealings, all reflecting on their character, for better and for worse.. I have heard same from lots of people. But that’s not what this FB thread is about. It’s about one case. I’m glad you weighed in. It provided a great deal of insight into how you, and perhaps other the KWPD officers think, since you work with all them.

  7. I then posted this into Mark Ryno’s thread:

    Sloan Bashinsky Naja Girard emailed me re you, Mike: Did you notice that the officer says “There are bad cops out there. These are not them.” Well, well, well, who are they then? Please, Sir, give us names. Has he told Donie Lee or the City Manager about those bad cops. Or are they bad cops in some other town – far far away? Look at Tony Yaniz’ facebook page. I’ve invited Tony to meet me at South Beach with one BIG guy willing to put a knee on Tony’s back while he attempts to move his head back and forth in the sand. Haven’t heard back.

    • This morning, I saw another comment from Mike Wolf in Mark Ryno’s Facebook thread, to which I replied, all just below:

      Mike Wolf Mr. Bashinsky it would appear you’ve suffered some sort of episode mentally. I’m sorry for that.
      5 hrs · Like

      Sloan Bashinsky Being taken over and retooled and trained by Jesus, Michael and Melchizedek tends to have that effect. I had a mental episode of another kind with State Attorney Mark Wilson at Jack Flats about a week ago, in the presence of my friend Dennis Ward, our former State Attorney. Mark and I talked a while about the Grand Jury. One thing he said was, although all grand jury proceedings are secret, a judge, for good cause shown, can order the proceedings to be made public. And, anyone who testifies before a grand jury can, if he or she wishes, tell other people what he/she told a grand jury. Your police officer friends can, therefore, can sit down with Naja and Arnaud Girard and their video recorder, and tell what they told this Grand Jury, which just cleared them of any wrongdoing, and went further, and praised them, and said they could have used even more force than they did. If these 13 officers are of such good character as you bear witness, they should be eager to do that, so Naja and Arnaud can share videos of their testimonials with their many blue paper readers. I hear from Naja that the blue paper gets about 10,000 hits per issue.

  8. Charles Eimers’ cause of death, as determined by the medical examiner and grand jury, was the result of an ‘accident’.

    The KWPD was responsible and the cause of this accident. It was determined that the ‘police force’ used in executing an arrest upon Mr. Eimers, was legal and justified.

    How can a legal and justified use of force, result in an accident, which causes the in-custody death of an innocent man; not be excessive?

    Police brutality is the use of excessive force, usually physical, but potentially in the form of verbal attacks and psychological intimidation, by a police officer.

    As a submissive and surrendering elderly man laid on the ground, before a large number of police officers with their weapons drawn, there was not any provocation on the part of Mr. Eimers, for the violent force that was applied to him.

    All police officers are trained and capable of applying an appropriate amount of ‘restraining force’, when effecting an arrest.

    Reckless, careless and the inhumane application of police force; regularly kills, disables and injures innocent citizens. Since 9/11 there has been a 66% increase in these types of crimes.

    The ‘Eimers’ Video’ exhibits a defenseless and compliant man, totally at the mercy of his captors.

    During my life I’ve experienced many violent exchanges. Since my early childhood, I’ve always know the difference between excessive and appropriate uses of force. I find it hard to believe that the ‘grand jury’ couldn’t make the same distinction.

    Recently, as an older gentleman, while I was out in a crowded public venue with my girlfriend, I had the misfortune of a Miami Firefighter throwing an unsuspected roundhouse punch at my head.

    This individual stood above me as he delivered the blow. I was seated talking with my friend.

    I caught the delivery of the punch from my peripheral vision. I flipped the assailant on his back and straddled him.

    I had direct access to his face. For a nanosecond, I considered delivering forceful strikes to his head and hurt him.

    Just as quickly, I decided not to hit this stranger. I protected myself and restrained him, while I waited for management to secure this individual.

    If I could restrain myself, while only exerting a marginal amount of force to effectively control this young man, why couldn’t a cadre of professionally trained and well-armed police officers, safely secure this disabled senior citizen, without killing him?

    Much has been made about Mr. Eimers driving away from the police after a ‘traffic stop’.

    Suffering from diabetes, and after
    a long drive from Michigan to Key
    West, was it possible that Mr. Eimers was
    fatigued and disoriented when he
    was pulled over?

    After having cooperated
    with police, surrendering his
    driver’s license to them, could the
    instability of his blood sugar levels
    have triggered a diabetic-induced
    distraction (hypoglycemic episode),
    causing him to believe that he had
    satisfied his obligation with the
    police; thus prompting him to drive off?

    We will never know, because the evidence was destroyed through negligence or the willful actions of those entrusted to care for it.

    The State Attorney’s Office and certain Agents of FDLE have been baited into conduct, which will at least cost them their careers. They’ve stepped in it. They have been compromised.

    As their collective stench makes its way to the oval office and justice department, their slick and amateurish tricks will be exposed. Their costly disgrace will become the banner of a city, bankrupted by the evil that runs through its veins.

    Because Mr. Eimers drove away from
    the police after a traffic stop, “Was
    the violent force administered to this
    61-year-old, as he laid face down on
    the ground with his hands extended
    above his head, commensurate with
    the threat that he posed?” Did this
    defenseless, helpless and submissive
    man deserve to die?

    If your are concerned, do not be afraid to let the President and Justice Department know that you are troubled and alarmed by the manner in which Mr. Eimers was killed.

    • Mr. Donnelly:

      as much as I would like to believe that a letter or call to the president or DOJ would provide fruitful results, I’m afraid it would just be an exercise in futility.

      the present circumstance in this country has deteriorated so much, that this kind of behavior from the police and the justice system can no longer be considered corrupt, disemboweled, or deviant. the protection of police and their carnage, the inability to convict on the rare occasion that they are brought to trial, and the rampant, often farcical excuses to explain away any and all transgressions, cannot be explained by recalcitrant juries, the blue wall of silence, or ineffectual DA’s and judges. it can only be explained by the acceptance that this is state sanctioned, state sponsored, and state desired. the militarization of police, their seeming immunity from any and all behaviors, can only be explained as the desired, planned, and executed mantra of the state.

      I have been called a “conspiracy theorist” for many decades as a pejorative. I wear that as a badge of honor, because I am really a conspiracy factualist.

      ask yourself why all of sudden police started shooting dogs. did the dogs of America all of a sudden become vicious overnight? all at once? did they forget about mailmen? why do SWAT teams now raid poker games and serve misdemeanor warrants? why do police, even in small towns, have tanks? why do police beat you up over the slightest provocation, real or imagined? why do they ask you for your papers? and why is it that police have killed more Americans than the Iraqi’s did?

      it’s because they were told to do so by the state.

  9. Am I dreaming??? When I turned on my laptop, after first pouring a cup of coffee, I saw the email alert from The Blue Paper. Could this be real? Am I still sleeping? So I stuck my finger in my coffee to see if I was awake. Yep, coffee’s hot! I must be awake. This is not a dream! It is also not unexpected. The “blue wall” has prevailed thanks to Vogel and here ASSistants.
    On another note, this solves the sewer problems in the Keys. Reverse the flow and dump it all on Key West, it can’t make it stink any worse.

  10. “i just can’t trust my lying eyes!”

    coming soon to a theater near you.

    brought to you by your favorite neighborhood sponser the wink n nod ‘legalized’ murder consortium.

    the boyz of the KWTD.
    fiddling fdle
    med re-examiner’s farewell speech
    florida keys ‘oops’ hospital
    vogel’s ham sandwich luncheonette

    filmed entirely in the sunny tropical paradise of ‘wonnerfull’ key west

  11. I guarantee that if we had access to the Grand jury proceedings that we would read that instead of just presenting the facts to the jury someone told the jury that the only thing between them and anarchy was this Blue Line that protects them. If the Feds read the proceedings a lot of this “Blue Line” bull will not be in the proceedings. If we are lucky someone will grab and protect the proceedings from the “Bubba Wash” .
    The Feds are still coming . You can make book on it. Open the jail doors for Bubba.

  12. Again, based on my own general understanding from back when I practiced law and clerked for a US District Judge before that, and based on my conversation with Assistant State Attorney Mark Wilson maybe a week ago, as I described to KWPD officer Mike Wolf, reported earlier in these reader comments, it will take a federal or state judge to require the Grand Jury proceedings to be made public, say to the Horan Law Firm prosecuting the Eimers family’s civil rights lawsuit against the kWPD officers and the City of Key West; say, to the US Attorney General, the F.B.I., the US Attorney, etc.

    The actual cause of death this terrible case remains: the cops profiled Eimers as being homeless; they roughed him up because they believed he was homeless, he died.

    The Grand Jury was told the cops thought Eimers was homeless, and that factored into their view of how the cops treated Eimers, who was not homeless but the cops thought he was.

    Sort of like, if cops think their lives are at risk, they can shoot and kill; even if their lives were not at risk, it was enough that they thought their lives were at risk.

  13. Back when this story first came out months ago, I stated that being a cop is a tough job. I have the utmost respect for the police officers who do serve and protect their community. I am hopeful there are still some of those in all law enforcement agencies in this country. It is an unfortunate fact, however, that there are way too many individuals in agencies all around the country, and particularly here in Key West, that have lost sight of their promise to protect and serve. There are rogue cops in the KWPD. There are a few whose names keep coming up in complaints and reports, ranging from police brutality, sexually assaulting alleged suspects (in public no less!), pointing their weapons at children, reckless tasing of alleged suspects, oh, and lest we forget, the occasional killing of tourist(s?). The KWPD is culpable for all of this because they are aware of it all. And joining the list of culpability are the mayor, the city commissioners, the State Attorney, the FDLE. Is anyone paying attention to all this? I might expect this from Miami, New York, or Chicago, but this is Key West. How can this little island city be so dirty and corrupt, and our local leaders be so oblivious?

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