Charles Eimers Preliminary Autopsy Report Released

 
Charles Eimers Photo provided by Treavor Eimers

Charles Eimers Photo provided by Treavor Eimers

Monroe County Medical Examiner E. Hunt Scheuerman, MD on Thursday released his preliminary objective report following the autopsy of Charles Eimers.

Charles Eimers, 61, tourist for a day in our island Paradise, died on Thanksgiving day while in the hands of Key West police officers.   The arrest took place on South Beach in front of multiple witnesses who reported a scene of violence:  tasers being used repeatedly on a man handcuffed facedown in the sand and tackled by 5 or 6 police officers. Eyes bloodshot, face blue, nose and mouth caked up with sand, Eimers stopped breathing and became limp before dying a week later at Lower Keys Medical Center after being taken off life support.

Initial police department communications indicated that Eimers had suddenly collapsed and had doubtless died due to a pre-existing heart condition, which somehow led a doctor at the hospital to declare Eimers’ passing a death from “natural causes”.

This initial explanation is now clearly contradicted by the preliminary autopsy report.  Ten ribs were fractured, the neurons in his brain had turned red from lack of oxygen, his trachea showed abnormal reddening.  The report also reveals that the airways within the lungs exhibited “linings of tan exudate”.   Exudate is a liquid produced by the body in response to tissue damage.  Many have speculated that Eimers suffocated in the sand.  Could sand have caused tissue damage in his lungs, which would be one more piece of evidence pointing to asphyxiation?

“Not necessarily,” said a physician we interviewed after showing him the coroner’s report, “the only thing this report really does is rule out a heart attack,” he said.  “There is an indication of arteriosclerosis.  But Eimers had less than 25% obstruction. That would not have caused a problem…  The report also indicates there was no acute myocyte necrosis, inflammation or significant myofiber disarray found in the heart tissue.   The problem is, this autopsy was performed too long after the incident.  The patient was sick for another week at the hospital and then refrigerated for another week prior to autopsy.  Most of the indicators would have disappeared by then.”

Another remarkable element revealed in the Medical Examiners report is that apparently the hospital destroyed all of the blood and tissue samples it collected when Eimers’ was admitted to the hospital.  This prevents the Medical Examiner from performing more specific tests, which would shed more light on factors used in determining the cause of death.

The disturbing loss of crucial evidence in this case renews the question of possible cover-up:

What should have happened is:

  • The family should have been informed immediately.
  • Charles Eimers would not have remained hopelessly on life support.
  • The body would have been sent immediately to the Medical Examiner for autopsy, together with the blood and tissue samples.

But what actually happened is:

  • KWPD made no attempts to reach the family until 4 days after the incident.
  • A doctor initially ruled the death one of “natural causes”.
  • The body was sent to Dean Lopez for cremation and all of the hospital admission samples were destroyed.

If one combines this scenario with the fact that the officers initially refused to make statements and have yet to cooperate with FDLE investigators, it’s hard not to give some credit to a deliberate cover-up theory.

By law a hospital is obligated to provide the Medical Examiner with every relevant piece of information in a “death in custody” case.  How was the hospital supposed to know Charles Eimers was “in custody”?

The Medical Examiner’s report mentions some interesting facts:

  • Both wrists are encircled by gauze dressings.
  • The dorsum of the right wrist has a 9 by 4 centimeters, red-purple bruise, within which are several, small (maximum 12 by 5 millimeters), brown crusted abrasions.
  • The dorsum of the left wrist has a transversely oriented, 12 centimeters long by up to 3 centimeters wide, red-purple bruise. Within this bruise are several, small (up to 7 by 8 millimeters), brown crusted abrasions.

That was the result of having been handcuffed for at least 5 minutes during an altercation with Key West Police officers.   As far as the hospital’s knowledge of the “in custody” status of Mr. Eimers goes, shouldn’t those wrist abrasions, which were treated by the hospital with “gauze dressing”, have provided a hint as to the hospital’s duty to inform the Medical Examiner?

Like all plans made by mice and men, any effort to sweep Charles Eimers’ death under the rug was thwarted by a few grains of sand (not the least of which was a timely inquiry by this newspaper).  The body escaped cremation by a pure miracle and we now have a preliminary autopsy report.  But interestingly enough, we are told that no separate investigation is being conducted regarding the complete and utter breakdown of the system.

Stay tuned.

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

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  23 Responses to “Charles Eimers Preliminary Autopsy Report Released”

  1. John, did you read the blue paper article in which one female KWPD officer at the scene said something to the effect that she wanted to off one of the other KWPD officers re what was done to Eimers? Did you see in a blue paper article a statement by a friend of one of the officers that that officer bragged about purring a knee on the back of the left shoulder of Eimers and elbowing him in the back of the neck, or maybe it was the back of his head, and uttered anti-homeless words about Eimers? In answer to your earlier comment, the KW Chief of Police answers directly to and works for and is hired and fired by the KW City Manager, who answers directly to and works for and is hired by the KW City Commission. At the end of tonight’s city commission meeting,, during closing citizen comments, I told the commissioners and mayor that I have yet to hear a word out of them about Charles Eimers death on South Beach. I told them it was the direct consequence of the city’s all-out effort to cause all its homeless people to leave the area, it was the city’s karma. Living way up Key Largo way, John, you might not be in tune with KW’s homeless policy. I am acutely in touch with it, have been since late 2000, when I arrived here and started living on the street. I have been up to my eyeballs in Key West homeless policy ever sinse. I told the commissioners and mayor tonight that it was their homeless policy that caused Charles Eimers to be dead, and it was time they started doing something about his death and what caused it, even if their lawyer (the City Attorney, who works for them, answers to them, is hired and fired by them) tells them that would be crazy. What is crazy is saying nothing, hoping this case somehow will go away. Eimers’ family has engaged a KW plaintiff lawyer. He don’t strike me as the kind of fellow who will go away, even if the Florida Department of Law Enforcement doesn’t do anything. Even if the KWPD doesn’t do anything. Even if the City Manager and the City Commissioner don’t do anything. Nothing about Charles Eimer’s death and the ensuing events passes the smell test. I could say the same about America’s war in Iraq and its later war in Afghanistan. Karma is certain and inexorable. However, connecting the dots back to what caused it can be a challenge.

  2. John, did you read the blue paper article in which one female KWPD officer at the scene said something to the effect that she wanted to off one of the other KWPD officers re what was done to Eimers? Did you see in a blue paper article a statement by a friend of one of the officers that that officer bragged about purring a knee on the back of the left shoulder of Eimers and elbowing him in the back of the neck, or maybe it was the back of his head, and uttered anti-homeless words about Eimers? In answer to your earlier comment, the KW Chief of Police answers directly to and works for and is hired and fired by the KW City Manager, who answers directly to and works for and is hired by the KW City Commission. At the end of tonight’s city commission meeting,, during closing citizen comments, I told the commissioners and mayor that I have yet to hear a word out of them about Charles Eimers death on South Beach. I told them it was the direct consequence of the city’s all-out effort to cause all its homeless people to leave the area, it was the city’s karma. Living way up Key Largo way, John, you might not be in tune with KW’s homeless policy. I am acutely in touch with it, have been since late 2000, when I arrived here and started living on the street. I have been up to my eyeballs in Key West homeless policy ever sense. I told the commissioners and mayor tonight that it was their homeless policy that caused Charles Eimers to be dead, and it was time they started doing something about his death and what caused it, even if their lawyer (the City Attorney, who works for them, answers to them, is hired and fired by them) tells them that would be crazy. What is crazy is saying nothing, hoping this case somehow will go away. Eimers’ family has engaged a KW plaintiff lawyer. He don’t strike me as the kind of fellow who will go away, even if the Florida Department of Law Enforcement doesn’t do anything. Even if the KWPD doesn’t do anything. Even if the City Manager and the City Commissioner don’t do anything. Nothing about Charles Eimer’s death and the ensuing events passes the smell test. Karma is certain and inexorable. However, connecting the dots back to what caused it can be a challenge.

  3. “Broken ribs are often
    the result of undergoing
    CPR, said Monroe County
    Medical Examiner Dr. E. Hunt
    Scheuerman, who added that
    he was speaking generally and
    not about this specific case”

    My 75 year old Father has had CPR on five separate occasions due to heart attacks.
    He has never suffered a broken or fractured rib.

    What are the symptoms?

    A fractured rib may cause:

    Mild to severe pain in the injured area.
    Pain when you breathe.
    Pain around the fracture when someone pushes on your breastbone.

    If you can’t breathe normally because of pain or flail chest, you may:

    Feel short of breath.
    Feel anxious, restless, or scared.
    Have a headache.
    Feel dizzy, tired, or sleepy.

    What happens when you break a rib?

    Your ribs have two main jobs:

    They protect the organs in your chest.
    They help you breathe by keeping space open
    inside your chest while the muscles you use
    to breathe squeeze in, or contract. This leaves
    plenty of space for your lungs to fill up with air.
    The muscles used for breathing pull on the ribs,
    so breathing may be very painful when you have a fractured rib.

    Flail chest is a serious problem that happens when three or more ribs are broken in more than one place. If you have flail chest, the broken area can’t hold its shape when you take a breath. This leaves less space in your chest for your lungs to open and air to flow in. It also makes it harder for the muscles to work well, so it’s harder to take a breath.

    Just wondering if Mr. Eimers had already suffered the broken ribs while prone in the sand under
    the brutality and weight of 2 police officers? Flail chest occurs when 3 or more ribs are broken? How about 10? Could that have contributed to him
    smothering to death Police brutality. It will be interesting to see if there was related damage to any of his other organs, ie. spleen, lungs, etc.

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