by Arnaud and Naja Girard
Wouldn’t it be great if we could all believe that Charles Eimers’ death was just an accident – somehow the 61-year-old tourist was simply a ‘walking heart attack’ and when police tried to arrest him he stressed out and his heart gave up.
We have a few questions about the final autopsy report:
1. What About The Civilian Witnesses?
Eimers’ “face was not forced into the sand,” wrote former Monroe County Medical Examiner, E. Hunt Sheuerman, “but, rather, as he struggled, his face moved back and forth across the sand.”
We know the Medical Examiners’ Report was signed on April 26th. Of the many civilian witnesses we spoke to, only two were ever interviewed by FDLE and those two interviews took place in mid May, several weeks after the Medical Examiner had already signed his report.
Would the Medical Examiner have come up with a different opinion, had he had access to testimony such as:
“I saw an officer kneeling in front of the man with a knee on his back and he was holding the man’s head down in the sand. “ [Witness from Maryland who came forward last week in response to CBS coverage.]
It appears that FDLE may not have presented the Medical Examiner with any eyewitness testimony from persons who were actually there when it happened, other than that of the police officers themselves, the same individuals who had told Emergency Medical Services [EMS] that Eimers had run down the beach, collapsed all of a sudden, and had no pulse when officers got to him.
If the Medical Examiner had been made aware of the testimony of those civilian witnesses would he still have ruled out asphyxiation?
2. The AED [Automated External Defibrillator]
“If my Dad died due to a cardiac arrest brought on by ventricular fibrillation,” says Treavor Eimers, who was formerly an emergency care nurse, “then why did the AED, which they say was brought over to him immediately, indicate ‘No Shock Advised’? The device would have advised shocking him if his heart had been in ventricular fibrillation.” Why doesn’t the Medical Examiner mention the “No Shock Advised” diagnostic observed on scene? Was this detail made known to the Medical Examiner?
3. The ‘Imaginary’ Stun Gun
A number of eyewitnesses reported the repeated use of a Taser or stun gun. The Medical Examiner however noted, “No wounds consistent with the use of a Taser were found.”
The Taser is a dart-firing weapon, which penetrates into the flesh leaving noticeable scars. The X26 Taser used by Key West police officers, however, has a “stun gun” mode which shocks upon contact with the device. Would stun gun marks, if there were any, still be visible during an autopsy that was conducted two weeks later?
4. A face “caked up with sand”
The Medical Examiner reports that photographs taken by ‘investigators’ “show a light dusting of sand on his face and in the outer edge (vestibule) of the nose.”
The Medical Examiner, however, notes that those photos were actually taken at “the hospital.” At that point Eimers had been in the hands of fire department, EMS, and hospital staff for over 37 minutes. Wouldn’t they have cleaned his face as a matter of course during that period of time?
What if the Medical Examiner had been made privy to the fact that there were many eyewitnesses who described Eimers’ face, not as showing “a light dusting,” but rather as, “caked up with sand, all the way up his nostrils and in his mouth,” [Bartender, Southernmost Beach Café]
5. No Sand Was Found In His Airways
Is that surprising after being in intensive care for a week?
6. The Audio Recordings
We now learn that according to the Medical Examiner there were audio recordings [plural] of Mr. Eimers saying “No” repeatedly.
So, apparently the police had at least two separate devices that were recording the “accident.” One of them was likely Officer Gary Lee Lovette’s Taser, which we know had been put up against Eimers back and could have been ‘active’, but where did the other mysterious audio recording(s) come from?
7. 10 Broken Ribs and Lacerated Wrists
One would wish the Medical Examiner had addressed the issue of the ten broken ribs and the lacerated wrists: When looking for clues of excessive force shouldn’t the Medical Examiner determine if handcuffs, secured according to correct police procedures, would have left such lacerations on Eimers wrists when they had stayed on for only five minutes. Treavor Eimers and the Medical Examiner reported severe lacerations on both wrists. And why would CPR maneuvers be responsible for breaking ribs up near Eimers collarbone?
8. Crime Scene photos
Taking photos of a crime scene that include photos of the injured party is mandatory according to KWPD policy, yet the Medical Examiner only refers to photos taken at the “hospital.” Are we to understand that no photos were taken of Mr. Eimers at the crime scene?
9. Unexpected and Unforeseen Death
“The officers could not have known about [Eimers] medical condition,” notes the Medical Examiner. The words “Senior Citizen” come to mind. A reasonable police officer might suspect that an overweight 61-year-old man could have heart issues, if indeed heart failure was the cause of Eimers’ death.
10. The Lost Medical Evidence
FDLE and KWPD allowed all of Eimers’ blood and tissue samples to be discarded and the body to remain at the morgue for a week before autopsy. How much information was, in fact, lost as a result of the mishandling of Charles Eimers body?
If we understand the Medical Examiner’s Report correctly, no physical evidence of heart attack or sudden cardiac arrest was found. The Medical Examiner’s objective opinion relies almost entirely on the circumstances surrounding the “accident” as it was related, apparently, exclusively by police officers. What would have happened if the KWPD and the FDLE had followed their own procedures and had also interviewed the civilian witnesses? The Medical Examiner’s Report does not even mention the bystander’s cell phone video. Did he ever see it? The Medical Examiner should have been provided with all of the evidence.
For access to all Blue Paper articles on the death of Charles Eimers click here.
To see the Bystander Video [Extended version] click here.