Issue #89 — Friday, November 21, 2014
by Arnaud and Naja Girard
A wrecking ball crashed through the City’s defense to the Eimers police brutality case on Friday. At a scheduled deposition Chief Lee was expected to provide bureaucratic information about the City’s procedures and policies in the wrongful death case filed by the Eimers family against the City of Key West and 13 police officers.
But instead he spent over two hours freefalling into a seemingly endless pit opened by allegations of “perjury” committed by his officers. At issue was the surprise new bystander video that showed up this week from Colombia. Unlike the first video, it shows Eimers arrest all the way to the point of his death. A fact that turns out to be devastating to the somewhat creative and more favorable stories cooked up by some of the officers.
“Sir, we’ve gone to the trouble, in preparation for various motion practice,” said attorney Robert McKee, “of taking every question and answer of your officers who were under oath and every time their answers were not what the video showed. There are pages and pages of it”…. and down we went.
~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.
FDLE Special Agent Kathy Smith was escorted out of her Marathon office on Wednesday. She has reportedly been put on administrative leave pending investigation of mortgage fraud.
The Blue Paper reported last week that Agent Kathy Smith and her ex-husband Scott Smith [at the time a Police Captain employed by KWPD] appear to have signed a false affidavit associated with an advantageous mortgage. They borrowed $ 461,500 on a house they had purchased in 2004 for $ 132,500. The home is now in foreclosure. In the affidavit the Smiths swore to the lender that they had been “continuously married” even though they had divorced four months previous.
Special Agent Kathy Smith was the lead investigator in the death of Charles Eimers. FDLE’s failure to secure Eimers’ body for autopsy, to return calls to witnesses volunteering information and to collect and protect crucial evidence, made the investigation ever more controversial.
The Bethel Commission
Gathered in the Commissioners’ Chamber of the Old City Hall, on November 17, 2014, former City Commissioner Harry Bethel brought together State Attorney Catherine Vogel, Police Chief Donie Lee, and approximately 50 concerned citizens of Key West to discuss the future of Fantasy Fest at a meeting labeled “Key West, Our Island Life”. Sitting behind the polished wood banister alongside S.A. Vogel, beneath a neon 3 minute speaker’s timer that was occasionally enforced, Bethel promptly began the meeting at 6 PM with a short speech that left no doubt as to his agenda.
He began by describing his impetus for this round of discussions on the subject being a massive influx of emails and personal comments objecting to Fantasy Fest becoming increasing lewd. He read into the record four suggestions offered to, not by, him (paraphrased here for brevity):
1. Outlaw genital painting
2. Clearly define and publish nudity laws
3. New marketing ideas