POLICE DENY RESPONSIBILITY IN DEATH OF TOURIST, THANKSGIVING DAY

 
 Posted by on December 13, 2013 * Featured Story *

“Eimers exited the car and began actively fighting.” [Officer Lovette, KWPD]

Within a few minutes the man in the video above [Charles John Eimers] would be dead.  According to official reports, no Tasers were fired, Eimers (61) worked himself into a heart attack while fighting police officers.  However, according to eyewitnesses, Eimers was tased until dead.  Reportedly in the words of one eyewitness, a police officer from New York, it was “legalized murder on the beach.”

The video stops before showing Eimers going ‘limp’ and it doesn’t conclusively show whether Tasers were used or not.

So what happened?

The story began a few miles away from that fatal beach, on Thanksgiving Day, at around 8:20 a.m.  Eimers, who was driving his PT Cruiser westbound on North Roosevelt Boulevard, allegedly used the left turn lane to pass officer Gary Celcer’s police car.  Celcer activated his siren and Eimers immediately stopped across from Pizza Hut near the intersection of Roosevelt and Kennedy Drive.  Eimers handed his driver’s license to Celcer who “noted the interior of the car to be very disheveled and possibly that Eimers has been living out of the vehicle.”

Then, for reasons unknown, while Celcer was running Eimers’ license, Eimers backed out of the spot, got back onto the road and began driving toward downtown.  Celcer followed in pursuit but the PT Cruiser was passing cars using the center lane and Celcer prudently decided to “discontinue actively trying to stop Eimers.”  He  “turned off [his] siren and emergency lights” and he called for back-up.

At that point it seems as though every police car on duty joined in the pursuit of Eimers’ PT Cruiser.  Patrol cars were reportedly driving carefully (stopping at traffic lights), but at least one car spotted by a witness was reportedly going an estimated 50 mph on Duval Street.

Eimers was spotted by Officer Kathyann Wanciak at the intersection of Amelia and Duval “smoking a cigarette with his left hand and driving with his right hand.”

At the end of Duval Street Eimers’ PT Cruiser turned into South Beach, made a slow u-turn onto the sand and stopped on the beach.  It was around 8:30 am.

In spite of officer Lovette’s claim that Eimers immediately began fighting with officers, the video [above] obtained by The Blue Paper shows Eimers calmly walking out of his car.  Three police officers move into the frame with guns drawn.  Wanciak orders Eimers to get on the ground, which he does.  The film shows Eimers being hand-cuffed, but suddenly he starts kicking his legs.  What happened?  Did he change his mind again about following police directives?

Well, maybe not.  One account might provide an explanation:  While officers were cuffing Eimers’ left hand [and we’re not making this up] officer Garrido somehow got his finger stuck in the handcuff.  Garrido was screaming in pain for other officers to come to his rescue.  Perhaps that was the same moment that Eimers, finding himself in the same painful predicament, began kicking his feet in protest.

What happened after that remains a mystery.  What is certain is that, within less than 5 minutes, Eimers stopped breathing and turned “blue in the face.”  He was later pronounced dead.

Police Tasers have gained an infamous reputation for causing cardiac arrest – specifically when used against elderly persons.  Eimers was 61.  The police department assured us that no Tasers were used.  However, the report written by officer Wanciak mentions Officer Lovette’s Taser, which was “placed on the back of the subject.”  She doesn’t say whether the Taser was fired and unfortunately Wanciak was no longer present when Eimers lost consciousness; she had just gone back to her patrol car – parked on Duval Street.

There are also the many other ‘incident reports’ written by the numerous male police officers who took part, however they are extraordinarily brief and they all begin with this statement:  “On December 2, 2013, I was ordered to write the following report regarding an incident that took place on November 28, 2013 (Thanksgiving Day) in the City of Key West.  It is my understanding that by refusing to obey the order to write this report that I can be disciplined for insubordination and that the punishment for insubordination and [sic] be up to and including termination of employment.  This report is made only pursuant to such orders and that potential punishment/discipline that can result for failure to obey that order.”

In his report, Officer Lovette never mentions having drawn his Taser as Wanciak contends.

“They tased him in the neck,” says one server who asked not to be identified, and after that he didn’t move – he was out.  Then they rolled him over and started compression.”

“I was about 30 feet away,” says another, “I saw him [a police officer] taser him [Eimers].  He didn’t lift the taser from his chest.  I could see his legs jerking when they were tasing him…  it lasted a good 6 minutes… The female cop was not involved in all that.”

The city, however, purchased state of the art Tasers three years ago, equipped with an audio/video recording system that is triggered whenever the Taser is deployed.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) is currently investigating the death of Charles Eimers and is actively searching for a tourist who claimed to be a New York police officer and who could be a very important witness.  This particular witness was quoted as saying that the whole thing was an obvious use of excessive force and that the suspect was already under control,  “I have never seen this done to an elderly man…”  He reportedly argued with the Key West police officers and was threatened with arrest.

So, who to believe?

Could the witnesses have confused the defibrillator (Automated External Defibrillator – AED) that police used to try to resuscitate Eimers with a Taser gun?  Not so says one witness, “The defibrillator was provided by the restaurant [Southernmost Beach Café] and the police officer was using the Taser before we gave them the AED.”

There is even uncertainty as to whether the AED was in fact used to administer shock treatment at all.  Officer Gary Celcer notes in his account that the AED analyzed Eimers and reported, “no shock was advised.” Standard AED devices block the delivery of shock when the device recommends against it.  A manual override is an option, but is recommended for use by trained emergency medical personnel only.

Key West Police may have had the misfortune of dealing with a man in bad health who, due to his own failure to follow directions, gave himself a heart attack or here was a man presumed to “be living out of his car” who was giving the police a hard time – Could someone in the force have tried to teach him a lesson with a few blasts of a Taser gun?

As of press time we are following more leads including eyewitness accounts, photographs, and at least one more video:  In the video we published above, a man is observed recording the scene with his phone.  There is also a witness on a bicycle. If anyone knows the identity of the persons shown in the video or has any other information about this incident or Charles Eimers who was from Michigan please contact us at editor@thebluepaper.com.

 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Click here to access other Blue Paper articles on the death of Charles Eimers.

 

 

  • By: Arnaud and Naja Girard

    Arnaud and Naja Girard, owners and editors of the new, digital, Key West the Newspaper (The Blue Paper) previously reported for the former Key West The Newspaper, Key West’s longest running independent weekly, published by Dennis Reeves Cooper, Ph.D., from January 1994 until November 2012. The Girards are perhaps best known for their discovery of the US Navy’s 1951 claim of ownership of Wisteria Island but are also responsible for top investigative stories including coverage of the highly controversial in-custody-death of Charles Eimers on Thanksgiving Day 2013, the catastrophic police tasing of Matthew Shawn Murphy, and the property tax scandal involving Balfour Beatty to name a few. Arnaud and Naja have lived in Key West since 1986.

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  7 Responses to “POLICE DENY RESPONSIBILITY IN DEATH OF TOURIST, THANKSGIVING DAY”

  1. This might explain why Watters didn’t see a single police officer while he was in Key West for his FOX News report… they were all on South Beach.

  2. Making an incident report under duress?
    What the hell? It is part of the job the policeman swears to perform . Put an ad in papers all over the USA: ” Wanted- new police recruits to fill all the vacancies of the police ranks in Key West. The city has had enough bull—– from the ranks . No more! They are all fired. Need new recruits post haste.”

    Not to worry . The unemployed former police can find a job in private security when the dredging begins.

    • Sounds more like the problem is with the brass, not the rank and file.

    • I am from Ohio and have read and watched many articles and videos on the Charles Elmers case. I find it incredible that anyone would believe those officers involved in Mr. Elmers death/murder. They said they stopped him initially because he passed an officer by going around him in a turning lane. I think that officer had his right turn signal on and Mr. Elmers felt since no other vehicle was he the left turning lane he could pass the officer in that lane. That is not against the law. They said Elmers took off after the initial stop without permission. I think the officer at least insinuated Mr. Elmers was free to go. I am sure Mr. Elmers was angry about getting that bogus ticket but certainly understood that voicing his anger to the officer was worthless. After Elmers took off they said he ran red lights and passed vehicle recklessly. I do not believe any of this because one of the videos showing Mr. Elmers getting out of his car nonchalantly. I believe he was just going to view the area when the many police cars showed up and ordered him to lie on the ground which he did. I believe Mr. Elmers was targeted for having an out of state vehicle. It is common knowledge that out of state and rental vehicles are targeted in most areas of this country. The KW officers mentioned that the inside of Mr. Elmers vehicle looked like he had been living in it, that he was homeless and living in his car. If I travel by myself I sometimes sleep in my vehicle maybe 2 out of 5 nights. It certainly did not look like Mr. Elmers vehicle belonged to a homeless person. Mr. Elmers was profiled as not a local and thus harassed, and eventually killed for that reason. Obviously the entire local police departments is composed of some very arrogant people who do not have the disposition and the mental capacity to be police officers. Many simply do not have any integrity and are very bad at lying. I am very glad there are some locals who are pushy for a full and honest investigation of the death or as I am convinced murder of Charles Elmers. The Key West community needs we tourist and we must feel safe among the locals and not fear your law officers.

      • So I have read where the Charles Elmers family has settle a lawsuit for $900,000 where the KW police department admits of no wrong doing. That latter part sure sounds stupid since the tourist video shows clearly the killing of Charles Elmers. How about the lies those involved officers told before that video surfaced. What do you think would happen to you or I if we lied to the police? I suppose the department thinks that this story will now go away. They are totally wrong. If the state doe not do something and charge the officers involved, the Feds will eventually get involved and many more heads will be involved than just those directly involved in the police murdering Charles Elmers. The locals will also suffer with less tourist dollars as we are not going somewhere fearing the Key West police as well as the common criminal. I urge Florida and Key West to get this mess cleared up by charging the officers involved with the MURDER of Charles Elmers.

  3. This account of the police department report states there were no MURDERS in Key West for 2013 – what about the death (MURDER) of Charles John Eimers on Thanksgiving Day, possibly (apparently) at the hands and knees of some of our police officers?

    Crime in Key West
    drops by 6 per cent

    The Key West Police Department’s end of year report to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement shows overall crime dropped by almost 6 percent in 2013. A breakdown of the types of crimes shows that non-violent crimes dropped by 4.5 percent and violent crime was reduced by 14.4 percent.

    Robberies were down by 27.5 percent in 2013 when compared to the previous year, and aggravated assaults dropped by 9.7 percent. There were no murders in Key West in 2013. In 2012, there was one.

    Though there has been a recent spike in the number of burglaries in the vicinity of the Key West Cemetery, thought incidents of burglaries dropped by 9.3 percent in 2013, when compared to the year before.

    A rash of smart phone burglaries in 2013 spiked the larceny numbers. These thefts created an increase of almost 453 percent in that category. The rash of phone thefts ended after a Miami couple was arrested in October. Thefts from conveyances, however, were down by over 35 percent, which brought the overall rate for larceny down by 36 percent.

    “We’re always glad to see the numbers come down,” said Key West Police Chief Donie Lee. “And we are dedicated to doing all we can to see crime rates continue to drop. Through our continued partnership with the community and the diligence of our officers, we want to continue making this a safe and enjoyable community for our residents and visitors.”

  4. It appears Key West Chief Donnie Lee that maybe the crimes committed by the citizenry are down but the crimes or your department are obviously increasing. How do we protect ourselves against your thugs Key West Chief Donnie Lee? Do we tourist have to travel in groups? Do we have to hire our own bodyguards? What is the answer Key West Chief Donnie Lee? Are you just too much of a chicken shit to clean up your department? Are some of the officers blackmailing you?