The Eimers Investigation: Shocking Link Between FDLE and KWPD

Charles Eimers Photo provided by Treavor Eimers

Charles Eimers Photo provided by Treavor Eimers

When Charles Eimers turned blue and lost consciousness while in the hands of Key West police officers on Thanksgiving morning, KWPD was informed immediately by Lower Keys Medical Center staff that Eimers would never leave the hospital.  Chief Lee decided to treat the case as a ‘death-in-custody situation’, which meant FDLE had to be called in to investigate.

Lee didn’t make the call himself, though; he asked one of his officers, Captain Scott Smith to do it.  Captain Smith did make the call and FDLE’s Chief investigator Kathy Smith took on the case. You might notice they have the same last name and think there’s some connection there, and well, you would be right.  On Thanksgiving morning after Charles Eimers virtually died on the beach, Captain Smith called his wife, his ex-wife, in fact, at FDLE.  Kathy Smith is now investigating the father of her child[ren].

What did he say?  How did KWPD report the circumstances of the arrest of Charles Eimers to FDLE?  This is something FDLE has obstinately refused to reveal, but we can make an educated guess.  They said:  ‘Charles Eimers got out of his car and proceeded to flee from the police while running on the beach away from law enforcement and Eimers collapsed.  Eimers was found without a pulse by police.  He was given CPR.  EMS was called.’

Why do we think that’s probably what was said?  Because that is – word for word – what KWPD told medical personnel who came to save Eimers’ life.  That, of course, was a fairytale.  Thousands of people have since seen the video, caught by a bystander, which shows Eimers complying with the police prior to the violent arrest. What are the chances that the KWPD told a different and true account to FDLE that same morning?

FDLE’s Kathy Smith is now in a pickle. She has to investigate, not only what happened during the Thanksgiving day arrest, but also what is now clearly an attempt at a cover-up which may or may not involve Captain Smith; someone very close to home.  Maybe the first report to FDLE was as much of a fairytale as what was said to the doctors at the hospital.  Maybe lying to FDLE is some sort of crime. Not immediately reporting a death-in-custody to the medical examiner certainly is a crime, under Florida Statute 406.12.

By misleading the medical professionals, KWPD had doctors at the hospital believing that Charles Eimers died of natural causes.  The hospital dropped the ball, filed a death certificate confirming ‘death by natural causes’, tossed all the lab specimens, and failed to inform the medical examiner.  The body was very nearly cremated before an autopsy could be performed.

But of course, the KWPD quickly found the responsible party:  A newly assigned detective named Todd Stevens.  KWPD trumpeted a Letter of Reprimand placing all the blame on Stevens who was removed from the case.  The Letter of Reprimand, signed on December 13th by the Chief of Police, indicated that Stevens had failed to remain in contact with the family and the hospital and therefore “didn’t know” that Mr. Eimers had been removed from life support a week earlier on December 4th.  The letter also completely exonerates Captain Smith.

But there is a problem with the Letter of Reprimand.  The main element: failure to report Eimers’ death to the medical examiner is a direct violation of a criminal statute.  So, why was there no investigation associated with this incredibly serious mistake? [In comparison, a small issue – like officer Kathyann Wanciak speaking out at a public meeting about a few flower beds over at Glynn Archer School – is still being investigated several months after it occurred and has generated countless interviews.]

But when it comes to Todd Stevens, there is nothing; no interviews, no report, no investigation. KWPD spokesperson Alyson Crean informed us, in a February 3rd email, after we sought copies of the entire investigative file on the matter,

“It was a summary discipline. There was no investigation. You have all of the documentation regarding the discipline.”

Treavors-phone-record-225x400

The interesting point here is the reprimand is based on a lie.  First, contrary to the letter, the police detective had indeed been informed of Charles Eimers’ death.  The day after Charles Eimers died, his son Treavor Eimers spoke with KWPD for 8 minutes [as is clearly shown by his phone record.]  Treavor says he explained, during that call to Stevens, that the family had removed Charles Eimers from life support the previous day.

But there is another problem:  If Chief Lee had really removed Stevens from the case on the 13th, then why, on the 17th,, was Stevens still filing evidence in the Eimers case?  Chain of custody documents show that on the 17th of December Stevens logged into evidence, the video that had been published by the Blue Paper on December 13th,.

One more thing that doesn’t add up:  When the Chief summoned us here at The Blue Paper to his office on December 27th, we spent two hours defending our reporting on the case.  We told Chief Lee that we had spoken with Bob Dean of Dean Lopez Funeral Home and that Mr. Dean himself had told us that it had been a miracle that the body had not been cremated and we went on to discuss the matter for quite some time.

Now, why did the Chief of Police, who was so willing to make the Letter of Reprimand public a few weeks later, not mention either Todd Stevens or the reprimand letter that he later claimed he had signed two weeks prior to our meeting?

But it gets worse.

On December 10th at 11:23 a.m. KWPD told The Blue Paper that Eimers was still alive at the hospital, but after what must have been a bit of turmoil over at the Police Station they admitted that, in fact, he was dead.  That was at 1:19 p.m.  You would think that, at that point, there would have been an immediate push for the body to be sent to the medical examiner.  Well no, according to the medical examiner, E. Hunt Schuerman, his office was not informed of the death of Charles Eimers until 12:08pm on December 11th.  Dean Lopez was then notified by the medical examiner and the body was picked up the same day.  If this timeline is correct it means that the KWPD waited nearly 24 hours before finally moving to save the body from cremation.

So, could the Reprimand Letter have been some sort of back-dated self-serving fabrication to exonerate Captain Smith [Stevens’ supervisor] of his involvement in the autopsy fiasco? If Stevens learned of Eimers’ being taken off life support on December 5th, who else knew?

And what about FDLE?  Weren’t they called in that first day precisely to watch over this case and investigate?  How come no one at FDLE could find the time to call the hospital to check on Eimers or to inform the medical examiner for nearly 24 hours after it became clear that the body had been sent off for cremation?

And, what is Kathy Smith really supposed to do with all of this over in her FDLE office in Marathon?  One thing she’s not doing is interviewing witnesses.  Not interviewed: The restaurant worker who claims he and other employees heard officer Kathyann Wanciak yell, “Someone better get him away from me before I arrest the son of a bitch myself!” and ““He just murdered that man.”  Not interviewed:  the witness who claims Officer Lee Lovette made some incriminating admissions the day after the incident, and just this week we discovered another witness who was working the restaurant at South Beach that day, who said she heard a Taser being used repeatedly –  also not interviewed.

The death of Charles Eimers is turning into a wrecking ball; a loose cannon.  When were these law enforcement agencies intending to tell everyone about the conflict of interest between FDLE’s Kathy Smith and KWPD’s Captain Scott Smith?

Isn’t it time to start facing the music, before the rumbling noise of steel rolling under the deck sinks the ship?

 

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!

10 comments on “The Eimers Investigation: Shocking Link Between FDLE and KWPD

  1. Obfuscating and obstructing an investigation through a cover-up or the destruction of evidence are felonies. Falsifying police reports, conspiring to fabricate false evidence, suppressing criminal evidence and collusion have landed many an FDLE supervisor and agent in prison.

    Any State Attorney who ‘knows or should have known’ that a crime or malfeasance had the likelihood of being a part of a criminal investigation, has a duty to make such information known.

    The FDLE chief agent assigned to investigate and handle the ‘Eimers’ Killing’ , was required to recuse herself. Chief Lee’s conduct is telling. Under oath all of these individuals will cut deals, beg for immunity and plea out for whatever leniency available.

    None of them want to be caged in prison cells adjacent to the inmates they put there.

    Several United States Marines whom I served with are deeply imbedded within the Obama Administration. They serve in Counter-Insurgency and the Justice Dept.

    I don’t know the caliber of individuals involved in this investigation. After the Arthur McDuffie debacle, these Marines are stoked to do what is necessary to get the truth.

    Arnaud and Naja, your relentless pursuit of justice for the killing of this innocent man is admired, respected and loved.

  2. Thank you, Blue Paper, for keeping this alive and in the forum. The cover up of this crime is not only blatant and arrogant, but keystone cop sloppy. The longer the “Blue Wall” stands the worse it will be when it finally falls. To be a part of this death and not come forward with the truth will haunt the poor bastards responsible for the rest of their lives. The truth will set them free.
    Chief Lee’s letter to the citizen took offense to our first amendment rights to a free press. Without the Blue Paper this alleged crime would fade from memory and Charles Eimer’s family would not see justice served.

    • mr symington
      can you direct me to a copy of lee’s letter in the citizen. i can find no trace of it in thier archives nor current publications this past week. tia

  3. There are people who can lie and get away with it. KWPD has none of these people. They will not get away with murder. The Feds are coming , the Feds are coming.
    Another mystery is how this murder is being kept in the dark in the rest of Florida. Very small articles at best. Maybe the rest of Florida is just saying: Another screw up in Key West? Of course!

  4. One might hope the Feds are coming, perhaps this mess will get so convoluted that the area’s US Attorney will become so intrigued, and at the same time wanting to kick back and enjoy Key West’s many road and sea side attractions, that he/she, the US Attorney, decides the suspected homeless man Charles Eimers is a person of interest and to be investigated in leaving no stones unturned fashion to determine what all the surely vicious Charles to did to turn 12 KWPD protect and serves into frightened children who had no choice but to stand their holy ground and grind the dangerous Charles into the breathless sand and call it all in a day’s work. Darn lucky for the blues a bystander got the takedown on video, otherwise it would be just their word against Charles’ word.

    Probably totally unrelated, Arnaud Girard, Naja and I bumped into each other yesterday, which was Friday, the day this latest Eimers article was published in the blue paper, and when Arnaud said it seems there is a hysteria toward homeless in Key West, I said, mass psychosis, schizophrenia paranoia. Based on some of our conversation yesterday, I imagine there is more to come in the blue paper on that diagnosis, although maybe those exact terms will not be used.

  5. Please, please stay with this story. You are the only member of the media that seems to give a damn about something that is extremely important. If you do not continue your investigative reporting, this story will be buried so deep that Chinamen will complain.

    Eimers clearly committed a mortal sin–he pissed off a cop, or more than one cop. Unfortunately, like many others in this country, you can pay with your life for pissing off a cop. Key West is not unique in that regard nor is Key West unique in covering up such things. The State’s Attorney in Miami-Dade County has blessed EVERY police involved shooting during her decade in office. The same will happen here if you are not persistent.

    Stay the course!!!!

  6. Sadly it is unlikely from what our history shows us that our prosecutor will prosecute these corrupt police.
    As I said before the police can and have retaliated against prosecutors and courts by closing down the areas lawyer industry. The police just stop issuing summonses and making arrest for non violent offenses.
    The lawyers offices will be empty.Nobody will be making any money off of the crime racket.
    I hope you will enjoy this animation created by a former lawyer. He will explain how corrupt prosecutors can be https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O7dTJHkq3Bw&list=HL1398125480&feature=mh_lolz
    On another note , I have requested several times of our two legislators to introduce legislation to make the prone restraint illegal.Please help me out on this one and call Holly Raschein and Dwight Bullard.You will see what phony- dishonest people they really are .

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