“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?
This is an extended version of the video published last December of Charles Eimers’ arrest on South Beach on Thanksgiving Day 2013. There are an additional 26 seconds at the end of this video. We had initially received the bystander video in two parts. The two files were sent to us under the same file name and it was originally thought that they were identical. In fact they overlapped and the second video included an additional 26 seconds showing more of what happened to Charles Eimers that day. Those two overlapping videos have been pieced together into the extended video above.
NOTE: At the very end of the extended video it appears that one officer has placed both of his knees, and thus nearly all of his weight, on Charles Eimers’ back.
L-R: Riley Schill, Morgan Denhart, Austin Svedjan and KWHS teacher Ed Smith
Last week in Orlando, three Key West High School students from the Conch 5 Studios National Team placed first in the nation in the Team Live Reporting category at the Student Television Network Convention.
Morgan Denhart, Austin Svedjan, and Riley Schill collaborated on the winning effort. All three are students in Ed Smith’s television production class. [See their winning video below] Continue reading
Turns out the mysterious “For Sale” sign that appeared last week on the beach of Wisteria Island was a hoax. The Blue Paper spoke with Bob Cardenas, General Manager of Sunset Key Development Corporation. ”We had thrown a pile of old signs away in a dumpster. When we heard about the sign we went out and took it down immediately. We had absolutely nothing to do with it. Someone must have taken it out of our dumpster and put it there as a joke.”
Commissioners Clayton Lopez and Tony Yaniz are co-sponsoring a resolution to strongly urge the Florida Legislature to repeal the state’s Stand Your Ground law. The Stand Your Ground law was enacted by the Florida Legislature in 2005 and has been used as a basis for a defense of justifiable homicide in a number of murder trials since then, including the recent and highly controversial prosecution of George Zimmerman for the shooting death of 17-year old Trayvon Martin.
In the proposed resolution the City cites concern over the “adverse social impact of the Stand Your Ground law, and a perceived racial bias that has been promulgated through its applicatioin in the court system”.
A recent study suggests that Stand Your Ground laws may lead to more deaths. According to researchers at Texas A&M University, the rates of murder and non-negligent manslaughter increased by 8 percent in states with Stand Your Ground laws.
The authors, who analyzed nationwide FBI crime data from 2000-2009, say it could mean that more people are using lethal force in self-defense, or that situations are more likely to escalate to the point of violence in states with Stand Your Ground laws. “Regardless,” the study states, “the results indicate that a primary consequence of strengthening self-defense law is increased homicide.”
In a seperate study, released last month, John K. Roman, Phd. [senior fellow at the Urban Institute's Justice Policy Center] found that Stand Your Ground laws appear to track the existing racial disparities in homicide convictions across the country but with one very significant difference: Whites who kill blacks in states with Stand Your Ground laws are far more likely to be found justified in their killing. Continue reading