THE EIMERS CASE: WITNESS INTIMIDATION?

There is now reason to believe that two plainclothes officers:  KWPD Detective Todd Stevens and another unknown officer, posing as FDLE investigators, deliberately intimidated eyewitnesses who were present during the violent arrest last November of 61-year-old Charles Eimers.

Anyone who has paid the slightest bit of attention to the story of the tragically fatal Thanksgiving Day arrest on South Beach has heard the Chief of Police deflect questions over and over by saying that FDLE is conducting an independent investigation into the death of Eimers and will decide whether or not there was any wrongdoing,

“We’re waiting and we want answers just as bad as everyone else does.  As in any situation like this, once FDLE completes their investigation, we will do an internal affairs investigation to look into what happened,” says the Chief.

Last week, some four and a half months later, this ‘independent investigation’ by FDLE was called into question.  We published that, on the day of the altercation with police, KWPD Captain Scott Smith had called FDLE’s Kathy Smith, his ex-wife, about the mandatory FDLE investigation of Charles Eimers’ anticipated “in-custody-death”.

That’s right, FDLE’s top investigator, Kathy Smith, is now conducting the ‘impartial, independent investigation’ of the father of her child as to his involvement, if any, in a possible cover-up of Eimers’ violent death while in the hands of KWPD.

As if this didn’t raise enough doubts about the FDLE investigation, we realized this week that we had missed a disturbing detail. Going back over our interview notes, we noticed that eyewitnesses had described having been interviewed by two FDLE investigators, “two men in plainclothes”, who came to the beachside restaurant on the very day of the fatal arrest.

Now, that is interesting because the FDLE investigators who came from Marathon on Thanksgiving Day were two women and one man:  Kathy Smith, Carol Frederick, and Mid Quad.  In other words there weren’t “two men” among them.  And in fact, when studying the infamous Letter of Reprimand, by which Todd Stevens was accused of having ‘lost track’ of Eimers’ body, it becomes clear that FDLE didn’t actually begin their “independent” investigation until two weeks later on December 10th.

So, who were those “two FDLE investigators’?  The two men in plainclothes who were interviewing eyewitnesses on Thanksgiving Day?  Back in December, one eyewitness said, about the Taser issue, “FDLE asked me if I knew the difference between a Taser and a stun gun.  He also said, “FDLE subpoenaed all the credit card slips from the restaurant.”

But as it turns out they weren’t FDLE investigators.  They were KWPD’s Todd Stevens and another male, who may or may not have been a KWPD employee. In fact, one of the eyewitnesses recognized Stevens when his photo was published in the Key West Citizen along with a story about the letter of reprimand.  [The same witness was shown a photo of the male FDLE agent Mid Quad. He told us that Quad was not the other detective who had questioned him.]

However, if the Chief is telling the truth and KWPD has not been investigating the case and has been “waiting for FDLE”, what were KWPD detective(s) doing on South Beach after the altercation on Thanksgiving Day?  And why did people think they were from FDLE?

Intimidation

This is what we have gathered so far:

They told witnesses not to talk to the newspapers. They warned employees that if they became witnesses in the case “[their] record would be scrutinized.”  “Maybe it wasn’t a threat, but it felt like a threat, “ said one witness, “I don’t want to get into it. People have different issues, like child support and stuff – you know what I mean?” At least one witness was told that his statement wasn’t going to be used because of his record.  Does this mean that the fake “FDLE investigators” ran people‘s records as they were conducting the interviews?  No one said the statements were taped and no one said they signed a written statement.

When asked, “Do you remember what you said,” one witness told us, “If I knew there was going to be a test, I would have taken written notes.” Four and one-half months later, memories have definitely faded and some witnesses appear to have been “gotten to”.  One of them pretended having never spoken with us before and hung up the phone as soon as we mentioned the Eimers case.  Apparently, some threats also came from at least one employer.

And now, for the best part about the FDLE “investigation”:  Apparently, aside from that first apparent FDLE “impersonation”, there have been no other interviews of our eyewitnesses who are employed on South Beach.  It appears that all FDLE has done so far is wait for the police officers involved to agree to come tell them whatever story they had come up with several months after the fact.

It is becoming painfully obvious that the truth was never meant to come out.  The death of this 61-year-old grandpa was to be swept under the rug and in fact, everything was ‘going well’ for awhile.  Officers were refusing to file their reports. The body was about to get cremated.  FDLE’s Kathy Smith would find that Eimers must have worked himself into a heart attack believing the same lies that were told to the doctors.  And ‘hopefully’ Eimers was some homeless guy and no one would ever claim him.

A series of little miracles, however, were going to wreck the ‘plan’.

First miracle:  one officer nearly told the entire truth in her report.  That was Kathyann Wanciak. [Let’s hope she makes Captain.]  And the Chief forced the other officers to write their reports.

Second miracle:  Eimers, who was supposed to die any second, received first class treatment at the hospital and was simply not dying on his own.  Under Florida law, before pulling the plug, the family had to be contacted.  KWPD had no choice but to finally call the family.  The lies they told then are now coming back to haunt them.

Third miracle:  When the body was all set to disappear into smoke, along with the main evidence in the case, a backed-up schedule at Dean Lopez Funeral Home left enough time for an inquiry from The Blue Paper to derail that scheme of events.

And, of course there was the inevitable cell phone video and now there’s David Horan and son Darren Horan’s law firm and the chance that, when subpoenas start to fall from the sky, this whole thing will get a lot worse before it gets better.

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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!

14 comments on “THE EIMERS CASE: WITNESS INTIMIDATION?

  1. Another excellent article. I’m looking forward to our Tourist Development Council and the Key West Chamber of Commerce partnering in a documentary film on the Eimers case, maybe name it “Thanksgiving in Paradise”, and putting it on their website, Facebook, You-Tube. They could cast locally for parts, if any locals would apply; might be locals would be afraid of being paid a visit by the KWPD special FDLE S.W.A.T. No Good Deed Goes Unpunished Department. Just kidding, it’s all that Charles Eimers’ fault for making a KWPD officer think he might be homeless. Case closed – oops! Some bystander filmed the takedown – oops! Eimers’ heart wouldn’t stop beating – oops! Eimers’ body didn’t get cremated – oops! an autopsy would have to be performed – oops! Eimers’ guardian angels, a bit late on the scene, made a few miracles – oops! Nobody’s supposed to talk about miracles and angels except in church – oops! Where’s FOX News?, they’re all church’d up, this oughta be right up their alley – oops!

  2. Just my opinion, Key West’s Mayor Cates and the six city commissioners, after the blue paper broke the story with the devastating video of the take down of Charles Eimers, which totally contracted the police officers’ version of the take down, made a grave error when they didn’t publicly express their own horror and outrage over what happened to Charles Eimers on South Beach last Thanksgiving Day. Yet it is understandable that they didn’t express their horror and outrage, because they had set the tone for how KWPD were to treat homeless people, and they, therefore, were where the buck stopped. Saying it another way, a fish rots from the head down, the apple don’t fall far from the tree, the chickens came home to roost.

    There is one more part. KW people who do not hold Mayor Cates and the six city commissioners responsible for what happened to Charles Eimers last Thanksgiving Day themselves are responsible, as accomplices. Responsible in God’s Court, where all of Key West, except its homeless people, stands trial for what happened to Charles Eimers. That’s a wee bit bigger matter than where to put a new homeless shelter.

  3. Sloan is absolutely correct; the mayor and the city commissioners stance should not be forgotten. their silence is deafening, and thus their complicity should brand their public life forever. NONE of these spineless sycophants should hold office again, and I would hope the great citizens of Key West and the various districts would see that happens. There should never be another public forum where these “leaders” are not castigated and refuted for their refusal to demonstrate even a modicum of human decency, or holding Donnie and his goose stepping thugs to account.

    Having said that, it looks as though the investigation will be the usual whitewash. How on earth can the investigation even be allowed to proceed with the conflict of interest between investigator and investigate-e? The fact that is has, has shown the investigation is over before it starts. The only hope it looks to me is through the wrongful death suit, and after that hits the corrupt judicial system, the Federal civil rights violation suit which will have a better chance.

    Thank you Blue Paper for continuing the vigilance on this story.

    • I think if we lobbied our two, I mean Senator Rubio to ask for an inquiry, that may work.You can forget about Senator Bill Nelson. He only responds to people who make donations to him.
      If you think the criminal courts are corrupt take a look at Florida’s family courts http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F4yyXVgFqGE
      This video is produced by a Florida news station. They did a story of how fathers are discriminated against in the family courtshttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rMXW0K2SD4g

  4. Larry, you used to work for the IRS, do you know anyone in US Department of Justice to contact? Although perhaps not right away. Naja and Arnaud may have more turn up which adds to the case for DOJ interdiction. Discovery in the civil lawsuit filed in Federal Court might also turn up more information DOJ might wish to see.

    • Sloan, A friend of mine is the former assistant federal prosecutor for the southern district of Florida(Miami ) We are from the same part of Westchester , N.Y- and Connecticut. She teaches law now somewhere north of here.
      I think I will tap her on the shoulder and ask her about any connections she still may have.
      You caused that light bulb to turn on above my head with that question

  5. The evidence uncovered via the investigation launched by The Blue Paper, appears to have revealed clear instances of criminal misconduct. Officials charged with impartially examining the Eimers’ killing, seem to have engaged in conduct that violates the law. There is a clear and pressing reality, apparently birthed by the behavior of those constitutionally charged with investigating this ‘in-custody’ death, that contradicts the evidence provided by medical staff and witness interviews.

    If the KWPD and FDLE supervisors and agents are obfuscating the truth, the penalties will be severe.

    Knowing, or pretending not to know, that significant aspects of an investigation are tainted, incomplete or prejudicial is a crime.

    In Bryson v. United States, 396 U.S. 64, a police officer cannot with impunity knowingly and willfully answer an investigators’ question with a falsehood.

    Furthermore, there is not any 6th Amendment right to legal counsel for an officer during a criminal investigation. This only kicks in if they are formally charged. There is no right to Union representation unless provided for by statue, contract or policy.

    The Mayor and City Commissioners have a problem on their hands. A pattern of behavior that appears to be dangerous and reckless has been exhibited by their police department. These public officials have not shown any interest in taking a detailed examination of the events that resulted in the Eimers’ killing. This innocent man’s life was taken for ‘no just cause’.

    When the boom is lowered, it’s going to come hard and fast.

    • as much as I would like to agree with you John, local, state, and national history demonstrates a mostly different outcome for cops accused of wrong doing. time after time we see police exonerated despite overwhelming evidence against them. did you know that the FBI has NEVER found an agent in the wrong for shooting someone, in their entire history? no, I’m afraid that as corrupt as the system is, it will be an aberration if the boom is lowered on these “serve and protect” brown shirts. regardless of what happens in the investigation, pressure must be put on the commissioners and mayor to dump the apologist chief (who should have been dumped after his boy-toy incident), and the voters should likewise deal with these do nothing, lackey city officials.

  6. Daves, thanks for your response. I concur with your reasoned argument and finding. If there is a way to obfuscate, destroy and conceal evidence that points to the wrong-doing of a kindred officer, the investigative agents in most instances will clear the police from any and all misconduct.

    As I’ve previously alluded to, an innocent inmate that the DOC wanted to execute, was charged with crimes designed to kill him. Their efforts were thwarted.

    As the DOC was exposed through an “Independent Civilian Investigation”, the man they wanted to murder was released. The individuals responsible for concocting the malevolent and corrupt investigation that sought to take the life of this innocent man were exposed.

    These malefactors have been made to suffer.

    In reality, it doesn’t matter what the FDLE or KWPD conclude. It may slow justice down, however, justice will not be denied. The brilliant, detailed and thorough on-going investigation being conducted by The Blue Paper, cannot be ignored.

    It behooves the state attorney to monitor the events uncovered by The Blue Paper in real time. Neglect and negligence that involves the killing of an innocent man is frowned upon in the State of Florida.

    The United States of America has a significant part to play in Mr. Eimers’ killing. A United States citizen cannot be summarily executed while in the hands of a police department, without the full force and weight of the Justice Department crashing down upon them.

    The Blue Paper’s determined and courageous examination of the facts surrounding Mr. Eimers’ death will bear fruit.

  7. I’m in Daves’ perspective, but perhaps Florida Department of Law Enforcement, KWPD and the City Commission will surprise me – I hope they do.

    Some of you might have found interesting last night’s Citizen Review Board meeting, which got into the Eimers case somewhat. I included the Citizen’s report on the CRB meeting, and a report on my citizen comments at that meeting, and my later thoughts, in today’s (Tuesday 4/29/2014) “dead skunks in the middle of the Key West road” post at http://www.goodmorningingkeywest.com

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