eimers memorial screen grab


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.

“It was his dream to spend a winter in sunny Key West after spending a lifetime as a Detroit autoworker,” his son Treavor told The Blue Paper.

“I pray that we can all live with compassion and empathy for all those we come in contact with and realize that we really are one human family,” said one speaker at the gathering, Alex Symington.

The possibility that Charles Eimers could have fallen victim to the harsh treatment that Key West reserves for homeless people has been a concern for many over the past year. One year to the day after Charles Eimers’ death, we went around town to find out how local homeless people were spending Thanksgiving Day.

“Of course the City is criminalizing homelessness,” said one volunteer at the Soup Kitchen at St. Mary’s Star of the Sea. “There are so many of them in jail for the crime of sitting or laying down or drinking in public.” “It works,” the kitchen manager told us, ”there are less homeless.” They’d served a little over 200 meals last year and less than 150 this year. “They’re in jail,” someone else said.

Key West doesn’t have an ordinance that criminalizes feeding the homeless like the City of Fort Lauderdale, but the public reprobation, the accusations of being an “enabler”, weighs heavily on those who still serve food. Many have caved in to public pressure: Metropolitan Church stopped serving food to the hungry. Glad Tidings Tabernacle, the church that used to organize Thanksgiving Day free meals, also dropped out of that program. Jai Somers, coordinator of Project Lighthouse’s street outreach program, told us that for the first time she decided not to serve Thanksgiving meals to the homeless youth, runaways, and street urchins she protects and calls her “kids”. According to the survey gathered each year by Monroe County Homeless Services Continuum-of-Care, Inc, the number of homeless persons in Monroe County has decreased steadily for the past five years. It went from 1040 In 2010 to 680 in 2014.

Yet around town on Thanksgiving there are many random acts of kindness; some of them very unexpected.

“Guess who bought us lunch?” Dave Martin asked us. Dave and Jackie are the homeless couple that move around downtown Key West on tricycles and have Florida ID cards listing their address as ‘panhandling zone on Caroline Street.’

“I don’t know. Who bought you lunch?”

“KWPD Officer Gary Lovette. That’s who did. He just asked us, ‘Did you guys have lunch?’ And he bought us two Cuban sandwiches!”


“We thought you should know.”


To access all Blue Paper articles about the death of Charles Eimers click here.

Here’s the video by Gary Ek [aka Gweko Phlocker] of the Candlelight Memorial:

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  1. Kudos again to Naja and Arnaud, and Gary Ek, who fathered the candlelight memorial, and to many others for what they brought to the memorial and said.

    This blue paper article went in a direction I had not expected, but am glad to see. The ending stopped me in my tracks. Gary Lee Lovette led the KWPD charge to kill Charles Eimers.

    Maybe Gary Lee saw the light; suffered amazing grace? Maybe he is trying to change his image? He’s a defendant in the federal lawsuit filed by the Horan law firm, and he would be a defendant in a criminal prosecution, if a grand jury indicts him.

    The woman who led us in the second half of “Amazing Grace,” after others had led us in the first half, had earlier said she didn’t see any KWPD officers at the service, and she thought that was just not right. I wondered why the mayor and four city commissioners were not there?

    I said Charles Eimers told the police officer who made the traffic stop that he had come to Key West to do God’s work. And here we are, I waved my hand toward the altar on the ground before us, and around the gathered people. Some of you knew things about your city before Charles died, some of you learned those things after he died, which you didn’t want to know, which Charles showed you. His heart was in bad shape, he was going to go out any time; so he went out in a blazing giant explosion, which the blue paper and the Horan law firm brought to light. Charles didn’t know how he would do God’s work, but here it is now, and it needs to continue.

    I heard before the ceremony began that State Attorney Catherine Cathy Vogel might be going to reconvene the grand jury, to take another look at the Eimers case. I told Naja after the ceremony what I had heard. She said she had heard the same thing, and that it was not being said publicly. I said I might say it publicly. I might say, if Vogel does not take the case back before the grand jury, then she definitely is part of the conspiracy to cover it up.

    Someone said Vogel already was part of the conspiracy. I said I knew that, but she could stop being part of it by doing a real investigation and steering the grand jury toward the truth. I said, while the grand jury was still convened, I talked with Assistant State Attorney Mark Wilson at Jack Flats one day about the case. I told Mark that I hoped he steered the grand jury to investigate the the cover up, which was as important as what happened on South Beach, because the cover up proved the cops knew they did wrong on South Beach. Mark agreed, that’s what a cover up would prove.

    I heard a lot last night about the cover up. A lot. And about the 2nd video, recently released by the blue paper for all the world to see, which made all of the cops involved out to be liars. Their sworn testimony, all false.

    Amazing Grace. Charles Eimers came to Key West to do God’s work. Let that circle be unbroken.

  2. Charles john may you R.I.P. after your most unfortunate and avoidable greeting to key west by the infamous cop shop kwtd. very sorry your stay was so short.

    buying a couple of Cuban mix sandwiches for the homeless couple does not absolve lovette from his murderous actions even if his conscience was talking however in my opinion it was self serving and devious. I understand he is the only cop to have a private and personal lawyer as well as the union lawyers. me thinks the brute needs to get beyond the f…….bomb don’t he! next he’ll be feeding seed to the pigeons on front street dressed in a toga and passing out burger king vouchers to the needy.

  3. Thanks to the kind people who organized the vigil and those who attended- it was the right thing to do and the Bluepaper should get a lot of credit for their investigative expertise too. It was good that Teri Johnston and Clayton Lopez attended and I was surprised that the other commissioners did not. . Would that really have hurt to take twenty minutes just to show some humanity? I dunno about these people anymore.I’m enbarassed by my City.
    To the Eimers family I send my condolences and apologies.

  4. A very nice video and a significant outpouring of love. I’m sure the Eimers family appreciates the gesture. I am proud of those that attended and tip my hat to Teri Johnston and Clayton Lopez for representing…

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