CUBA’S SECRET SANTA

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Obama talks to raul castro

President Barack Obama talks with President Raúl Castro of Cuba from the Oval Office, Dec. 16, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Man is not free to watch impassively the enslavement and dishonor of men, nor their struggles for liberty and honor.

  • Jose Marti, Cuban Independence Revolutionary and Key West Poet

The Pope, Obama and Castro are on the phone…

In a surprise announcement Wednesday, December 17, 2014, President Barack Obama informed the world that at the urging of Pope Francis who “pursues the world as it should be, not as it is…” the US and Cuba have been negotiating directly for the first time in 5 decades. As a result, Cuba released Alan Gross (imprisoned 5 years for giving out smart phones without a permit as evidence he was a spy), and an unnamed US intelligence operative. In exchange, the US released 3 Cuban operatives held in America; Ramón Labanino, Antonio Guerrero and Gerardo Hernandez. The Presidents, Barack Obama and Raul Castro, spoke personally Tuesday to finalize this deal.  However, the exchange was only the tip of this Caribbean iceberg. Continue reading

CITIZEN REVIEW BOARD SHOWS ITS TEETH!

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512px-US-DeptOfJustice-Seal.svg

UNANIMOUS!  REQUEST FOR DOJ TO STEP IN ON EIMERS CASE / BOARD WILL PROBE DEEPER INTO TASING OF MATTHEW SHAUN MURPHY

“Garbage in. Garbage out.” That’s how Tom Milone, Vice-Chairman of the Citizen Review Board [CRB], described the concept of the Board relying on  investigative reports furnished by KWPD, FDLE, and SAO [State Attorney’s Office] when it comes to local police brutality cases.

The CRB voted unanimously on Wednesday night to make a formal request to the US Department of Justice to investigate not only the in-custody-death of Charles Eimers, but also the agencies that produced what he called, “tainted, compromised, and unreliable” investigations. Continue reading

Internal Affairs: Officer Gets 5 Day Suspension For “Lying” About Killing Charles Eimers

Issue 92 KWPD Whitewash for web

Issue 92 KWPD Whitewash for web

KWPD Chief Donie Lee published the department’s Internal Affairs review of Charles Eimers’ in-custody death on Monday.

Officers were found to have acted professionally while using techniques that are proper for “actively resisting subjects.”

“I thought denial was a river in Egypt. Now we learn it is an island at the end of U.S. 1.” [Citizen’s Voice, Key West Citizen, 12/10/2014]

An unarmed man kneeling on the sand with his hands up, lays on his stomach as ordered by police. He lets them handcuff him until he is heard yelling loudly, “Ow! You’re hurting me!” He then appears to become agitated.  [warning disturbing photo in body of article] Continue reading

Eimers Grand Jury Investigation: FBI Helped State Attorney Booby Trap Her Own Case

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VIDEO: KEY WEST’S LACK OF EMPATHY 

IN STARK CONTRAST WITH NY AND FERGUSON


 

FBI HELPED STATE ATTORNEY BOOBY TRAP HER OWN CASE

“It’s a very painful day for so many New Yorkers,” said New York City’s Mayor, Bill de Blasio last Wednesday following the Grand Jury’s decision not to indict a police officer accused of choking to death an un-armed black man, Eric Garner. A similar decision recently caused violent protests in Ferguson, Missouri over the fatal police shooting of un-armed black teenager, Michael Brown, and three months ago, in Key West, another grand jury cleared 13 Key West police officers of any criminal liability for the death of Charles Eimers despite the fact [and contrary to KWPD’s initial claims] that Mr. Eimers had been initially compliant with police.

Continue reading

DEATH IN PARADISE: A YEAR LATER

CANDLELIGHT VIGIL ON SOUTH BEACH FOR CHARLES EIMERS

A hundred or so Key Westers gathered on Thanksgiving night on South Beach for the anniversary of Charles Eimers’ death. Tourist for a day, Mr. Eimers met with a controversial death on November 28th of last year within 24 hours of his arrival in Key West.

“I myself am just not ready emotionally to attend,” wrote Joshua Eimers, Charles’ youngest son.   Instead, the family sent a wooden cross and a heartfelt message which was read aloud by Rick Boettger. Continue reading

DEATH IN PARADISE: A YEAR LATER

eimers memorial screen grab

CANDLELIGHT VIGIL ON SOUTH BEACH FOR CHARLES EIMERS

A hundred or so Key Westers gathered on Thanksgiving night on South Beach for the anniversary of Charles Eimers’ death. Tourist for a day, Mr. Eimers met with a controversial death on November 28th of last year within 24 hours of his arrival in Key West.

“I myself am just not ready emotionally to attend,” wrote Joshua Eimers, Charles’ youngest son.   Instead, the family sent a wooden cross and a heartfelt message which was read aloud by Rick Boettger. Continue reading

EIMERS DEATH-IN-CUSTODY UPDATE: Missing Video Surfaces

~CAUTION! VIDEO SHOWS DISTURBING IMAGES~

Colombia!  The missing iphone video of Charles Eimers’ death was in Colombia!

“Once we had the phone number,” says Darren Horan, it took less than 48 hours to get a copy.”  He is one of the five lawyers representing Charles Eimers’ family in a suit against the City of Key West and 13 police officers who were involved in the fatal arrest of the 61-year-old tourist, Charles Eimers, last Thanksgiving.

On November 28, 2013, while KWPD officers were busy arresting Eimers on South Beach, a couple from Colombia was filming the incident with their iphones.  Nearly a year ago the first bystander video went viral and shattered the initial official police version of events describing an old man running away from police on the beach and collapsing due to a sudden heart attack.  But in that video, aside from the controversy it raised about police action, there was one nagging detail:  an unknown man was shown also filming the incident.  But no one could ID that second tourist. Continue reading

KWPD AND FDLE, PARTNERS IN CRIME?

Issue 58 Mr and Mrs Smith for web

Issue 58 Mr and Mrs Smith for web

It’s a hell of a thing when an FDLE Special Agent commits perjury.  A hell of a thing.

Kathy Smith, lead FDLE agent in the Eimers death-in-custody investigation and KWPD’s Chief of Operations at the time of the arrest, appear to be partners in a perjurious plot to obtain a strangely advantageous home loan.

This casts more doubt on FDLE’s “independent” investigation of the death of Charles Eimers. It is especially troubling considering that so much direct evidence including dashcam recordings, Taser video footage, and witness information was allowed to “slip away” and that Eimers’ body was nearly cremated before autopsy; all under Special Agent Kathy Smith’s watch. Continue reading

CHARLES EIMERS UPDATE: Police, Death, and Missing Videotapes

Charles Eimers Photo provided by Treavor Eimers

Charles Eimers Photo provided by Treavor Eimers

No trial yet, but the weeklong depositions of Key West police officers involved in the in-custody death of Charles Eimers were filled with eye-popping revelations and admissions about possible excessive force and cover-up.  Officers had to admit that only one of the long-awaited 9 [or so] police cruiser dashcam external microphone recordings is available, multiple dashcam videos have gone missing, and crucial footage captured by Officer Gary Lee Lovette’s Taser has been erased.  Finally, allegations surfaced that a witness saw police officers on scene deleting a second bystander video that showed footage of the entire arrest.  Officers’ testimony also confirmed a tense altercation had occurred on scene between a KWPD officer and a vacationing New York police officer who had described what he saw as “legalized murder on the beach.”

The death of the 61-year old tourist, Charles Eimers, while in the hands of Key West police officers captured national attention last year.  Eimers was dead before the end of the first day of his vacation in Key West.  CBS News reported his “Death in Paradise” after a bystander video was published in The Blue Paper contradicting the police department’s official version of events. As it turned out Eimers had not collapsed from a heart attack while running away from the police as was originally reported by KWPD.  Rather, the Medical Examiner listed his struggle, beneath the weight of multiple police officers, as a contributing factor in his death.

And this week, the six-foot tall, 220-pound [on average] officers were tip-toeing around the difficult exercise of demonstrating to the Eimers family attorneys that they could not have suffocated the old man and actually had done everything by the book. Continue reading

Ebola: Are We Ready?

Issue 86 Ebola Rats web

“What do you think? Of course we are preparing for the possibility of the Ebola virus.” That was Randy Detrick last Tuesday.

Detrick is the PR Director for Lower Keys Medical Center.  What The Blue Paper wanted to know was whether our local hospital has the necessary isolation units and whether it is stocked with the full protective gear which could have saved Dallas hospital nurses Nina Pham and Amber Vinson from contracting the Ebola virus.

Detrick promised a written statement but has yet to answer our questions [aside from the usual ‘fear not good people, we are totally in control’ response cited above.]

What are the chances?

We were surprised to learn that Key West, by some strange twist of fate, has historically been a chosen point of entry for African-based disease.   Continue reading

Scott Fraser, Key West FEMA Coordinator Talks About Key West’s Height Referendum

Three feet is just a little more than the height of a fire hydrant, but in the world of flood insurance, three feet can make the difference between a $ 6,000 and a $ 800 homeowner’s premium.

According to Scott Fraser, Key West’s FEMA Coordinator, in some cases, raising a home up to an additional four feet above FEMA requirements could result in even greater savings on a homeowner’s annual insurance premium; as much as 94%.

The City Commission is asking voters to consider passing a referendum which would allow homeowners to break through the building height barriers found in the municipal code for the dual purpose of protecting homes from flood damage and drastically reducing insurance costs.

Some residents have expressed concerns about a secret “developers’ agenda” or unintended consequences that might result if the referendum is passed.  In Key West restrictions on building height were put in place as a result of strong demand by residents and they were aggressively safeguarded when a charter amendment was enacted that would require voters to approve any changes – so it’s no wonder that people are paying strict attention to this paticular referendum question.

In the video above The Blue Paper asks Scott Fraser to help residents understand how things would work if the referendum on height were to pass.

Here is the text of the referendum:

To protect property against flooding and reduce flood insurance costs for taxpayers citywide, should the City permit an exception to building height regulations when buildings are voluntarily raised off the ground, up to four feet above FEMA established flood levels, yet no more than 40 feet in height?

The video below explains the potential insurance cost savings when homes are elevated above FEMA flood levels:

Continue reading

The Burglar, The Vigilante, and The Axe of Justice

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“He saw me. I wasn’t even in the room and he shot me.  He shot me through the open door.”  What Troy Singleton had just experienced was the instant of thunder, blinding flash, and burning flesh of a 9 mm pistol shot right at his face.

Troy, you see, was the ‘cemetery burglar’ of twenty-four years ago.  Only at the time it was ‘the hotel room burglar.’  In the winter of 1990, a rash of burglaries at Key West hotels had brought the hotel /motel industry to the edge of hysteria.  Tourists were waking up in their rooms to realize someone had stolen their money and valuables while they were sleeping.  The hotel room burglar was said, in the Key West Citizen, to “threaten not only the community but the entire tourist industry.”

Twenty-four years later, still serving time on his 35-year burglary sentence, Troy Singleton says he now knows who that hotel room burglar really was. In fact, he has a signed confession from the guy, a man named Willie Lee Rose.  He also claims his trial was rigged and this week he filed a Writ of Habeas Corpus which is pending before Judge Louis Garcia, for violation of his civil rights.

This is Troy’s story: Continue reading

David Wolkowsky: “God Wasn’t On Duty One Day.”

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Last Tuesday the County Commission found itself once again debating development of offshore islands.  Local attorney Barton Smith read into the record, a letter from his client David Wolkowsky, who argued that his island, “Ballast Key,” was a man made island and should escape the restrictions imposed on natural islands [for example they are limited to one house per ten acres]. “I envision the creation on the island of a small campus to be operated by the University’s [of Miami] Rosenstiel School.”

Mr. Wolkowsky was not present. The Commission praised his intention to donate the island for scientific research and the usual debate went on about whether all offshore islands should come under the same zoning.

Then something totally unexpected happened:  Continue reading

AUDIT: County Administrator and Three County Commissioners / Misuse of County Purchasing Cards

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Sometimes top County officials buy stolen County iphones.  And sometimes, after they get caught with the iphones and the scapegoat has gone off to jail, they take County issued credit cards and pay for personal items and entertainment and … well, they get caught again.

Let us explain.

Monroe County issues Purchasing Cards [P-Cards] to its top officials.  County Commissioners have them. County Administrator, Roman Gastesi has had 6 of them, sometimes three at a time with a total of $ 75,000 in credit capacity per month.  He also has a tendency to lose them. Continue reading

MONROE COUNTY’S SECRET ROADMAP TO RESEGREGATION

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It’s 7:30 am at the bus stop on Truman and Emma.  Eleven-year old Dimitri is about to climb into the morning school bus.  Like him, most of the kids sitting on the bus are African American.  Like them, he has a mere 40% probability of graduating from high school with his classmates; a stark difference from his white brothers, who have an 83% graduation rate [2013 data].

When we interviewed parents in Bahama Village about this disparity their responses raised an unexpected red flag.

“I didn’t want my son to go to HOB,” says the mother of a fifth grader, “He’s going to the white school.”

BP:  “The white school?  What do you mean?  What white school?” Continue reading

BLUE WALL OF SILENCE COST CITY ALMOST $300,000!

Blue shhhh

By now, you have probably read in the daily paper or heard on the radio that the City of Key West has agreed to pay former Key West cop Matt Klosowski $ 287,500 to settle a six-year-old whistle-blower lawsuit. But you probably don’t know the rest of the story. The real significance of this story is that the Mayor and City Commissioners now know that the Blue Wall of Silence is alive and well inside the Key West Police Department. The Mayor and Commissioners now know for sure that Police Chief Donie Lee’s department is corrupt. That is basically what City Attorney Shawn Smith had to admit when he recommended that the City settle out of court. Continue reading