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.

It became known as the “missing video.”  Was it the same footage that a witness reported as possibly erased by two unnamed KWPD officers on the beach?  Could it help answer the questions about the use of a Taser?  The blow to the head?  Yes or no – was Eimers head pushed into the sand?  Was his head bleeding?

In fact we learned this week that FDLE had the phone number of the iphone videographer in Colombia all along but never made the call.  The Eimers’ family attorneys did.

So here it is.  The video begins like the first one on the pier at the end of Duval Street.  Charles Eimers is initially perfectly compliant.  He gets on his stomach, is being handcuffed, when all of a sudden he becomes agitated.  An officer is heard saying, “Stop resisting!” At the 58 sec mark at least two officers are holding down his upper body while another officer is lifting a leg.  We see what seems like one last jerk of the legs and then Charles Eimers is laying seemingly motionless in the sand.

Some officers move away and start to search the car while others are standing idly nearby.  Then, all of a sudden, the officers appear to realize something is wrong.  Eimers, whose legs appear to have been hobbled after he already lay still, is rolled over on his back and the hobble and handcuffs are removed.

Officer Gary Lee Lovette is seen trying to find a pulse. Everyone else appears frozen.  Lovette pulls out a knife and cuts Eimers’ shirt off.  Officer Gabriel Garrido arrives with a big red medical bag.  Immediately you hear an officer – possibly Officer Henry DelValle – order the witnesses on the pier to move on,”You guys! Do me a favor – move out of this area. Move out of this area please! Go. Go-go-go.”

The Colombian tourist zooms in on Eimers’ face and yes, contrary to FDLE Kathy Smith’s findings, blood was running out of his ear and is even seen spilling down his cheek.  His face is completely covered with sand.  And “No”, said a physician we consulted, “bleeding from the ears is not a symptom of ventricular fibrillation.”  The Medical Examiner’s hypotheses had been that Eimers died of cardiac arrest due to an abnormal heart rhythm [“ventricular fibrillation”].  The evidence of blood in the ear is consistent with Officer Lovette’s inadvertent and incriminating admissions: “Me. I dropped like a f***ing bomb on his head,” and “I slammed my elbow down into the back of his head and the guy quieted down.” The presence of sand was down-played and the presence of blood was denied in the FDLE report submitted to the Medical Examiner.

But the new video supports the civilian witnesses account, which is contrary to the testimony of certain police officers who claim Eimers was never face down in the sand.  Civilian witnesses said Eimers face was “caked up with sand,” and that he had “sand in the mouth and nose.”

The new video also touches upon the controversial use of a Taser.  According to at least three civilian witnesses Eimers was shocked with a Taser, but according to FDLE, police Taser firing data shows that none of the officers’ Tasers were fired that morning.  On scene we hear one witness ask the Colombian tourist:  “Did you see him when they were tasing him?  When they had him on the ground?” and the witness imitates the sound of a Taser,  “che-che-che-che-che”  The Colombian tourist answers, “No,”  but he had spent a good amount of time filming police cars on the street and his friends on the pier before he realized what had just happened. He then keeps the camera focused on Officers Lovette and DelValle who are desperately trying to revive the victim.  EMS arrived thereafter and also tried to bring him back to life.  But that was not going to happen.

Once again, the public is left having to question why a cruicial piece of evidence – that video – which was just one phone call away, was never secured by FDLE Agent Kathy Smith and presented to the Medical Examiner and why State Attorney Catherine Vogel likewise failed to secure the evidence and present it to the Grand Jury.

Stay tuned.


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

NOTE ABOUT THE VIDEO:   At the request of the videographer, some audio containing commentary by the videographer has been detached.  Additonally, at the request of the videographer, approximately 13 seconds was deleted showing friends of the videographer standing on the pier.  Video provided by Darren Horan, attorney for the Eimers family.

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  29 Responses to “EIMERS DEATH-IN-CUSTODY UPDATE: Missing Video Surfaces”

  1. Wow!!! What we knew all along about the KWPD. Six minutes of murder caught on video. What say ye now citizens of Key West? What say ye now Mayor Cates and commissioners? What say ye now Donnie Lee? Will you continue to pretend it didn’t happen, and continue this blatant cover up? Or will you do the right thing and clean house? My guess is you will continue to support the rampant corruption and war on the homeless.

    Terrific job Naja and Arnaud, keep the pressure on!

  2. Absolutely frightening that so many people would be involved in a cover-up of a man’s death. Abject corruption is too kind a description.

  3. I notice in today’s Citizen a brief mention that Capt Scott Smith is now working for the Public Defender’s office.Is that part of the State Attorney’s turf? Is he on paid admin leave from the KWPD?
    What’s he doing there?
    Not sure I would want him defending or sifting evidence for anyone…

  4. “it’s our job to listen and be a partner…we are a paramilitary organization”… Donnie Lee , Key West Police Chief.

    • Paramilitary? Seriously? He and his buddies at the MCSO have been buying military equipment for at least 17 years that I’m aware of. Cops have no need for this stuff. They’re a bunch of wannabes who have serious mental issues, and who have massive chips on their tiny shoulders. If it weren’t for their extenders, they’d have nothing.

  5. this is excellent! I still do not have much hope that this will result in criminal charges against the police, but this will certainly push the civil suit to the proper conclusion. hopefully the money damages will infuriate the Key West citizenry sufficiently to oust the mayor, city manager, commissioners, and donie lee and his jackboots.

    did you catch donie lee saying that he and his force are a paramilitary organization in Mr. Adlers article? he should be removed for that alone.

    • It should result in criminal charges and should open the case back up. It should also result in criminal charges for Ms. Smith, who is complicit in the coverup. They are murderers, one and all.

  6. After reading this latest blistering expose of KWPD, Florida Department of Law Enforcement and State Attorney Catherine Vogel and her top prosecutors and the grand jury, I opened today’s Key West Citizen online – http://www.keysnews.com – and read its article on the second Eimers video. There is plenty in the Citizen article which tries to shift the blame onto Eimers for how the cops treated him on South Beach last Thanksgiving Day. If those cops had not thought Charles Eimers was homeless, they would have treated him differently. He indeed came to Key West to do God’s work by being the vehicle through which God, aided by the blue paper and the Horan law firm, showed Key West, its citizens and the people of the Florida Keys and the world what kind of police department the city really has, and that its city officials like that kind of police department, evidenced by their steadfast support of Chief Lee and his cops, despite the good efforts of the blue paper and the Horan law firm. Charles Eimers also was used by God to show the Florida of Department of Law Enforcement, State Attorney Catherine Vogel and her prosecutors, and the grand jury they convened to investigate the death of Charles Eimers were, and are, a sham.

    A suggestion to people of Key West, who are outraged over how Mayor Cates and the city commissioners have dealt with this case, so far. Go to the next city commission meeting and, during closing citizen comments, when citizens are allowed to speak to any issue they wish to speak for up to 3 minutes, take that opportunity to state your name and street address, which is required, and then tell Mayor Cates and the commissioners, and the television viewing audience, just how upset you are with the way they handled the Charles Eimers case. And, if you voted for Mayor Cates or for Margaret Romero in the recent election, also tell Mayor Cates, the city commissioners and the TV audience that you blame yourself as much as you blame them, because you approved their handling of the Charles Eimers case when you voted for Mayor Cates or for Margaret Romero.

    • KWPD uses his alleged ‘homeless’ situation as an excuse, yet just try to get the KWPD to get rid of a true homeless bum living in a van on a city street, peeing and pooping on city sidewalks. They won’t go close to that. Duplicitous.

      • Er, Susan, where did you get this information? Homeless people are targeted, harassed, threatened and jailed ongoing by KW police for real and made up (invented) on the sport crimes. Hatman, who had lived in his van in Key West for many years, was framed by KW police, and Judge Wayne Miller went along with the frame – I watched it happen during the trial. The cops claimed Hatman had a bucket in his van, which smelled like feces, but they produced no such bucket at trial; the bucket was not mentioned in their incident reports. At trial was the first Hatman ever heard of a bucket smelling like feces, Hatman told me. He said he did have a bucket in the van, but why would he crap in it, when he was sleeping in there? The cops invented the bucket smelling like feces, because the legislative history/rationale of the anti-living-in-a-vehicle city ordinance was people living in their vehicles allegedly posed a serious threat to public welfare and safety, and to tourism.

        Those cops roughed Eimers up because they thought he was living in his PT cruiser. Even the mullet rapper (the Citizen) reported the cops thought Eimers was homeless. This was a hate crime, except the man the cops killed was not, in fact, homeless. But, alas, because he was perceived by the cops to be homeless, that made it … excusable? I don’t imagine any of the cops involved are making that lame argument; they are letting other people make it for them, it seems, though.

        • This is our personal, documented experience. In our case, the cops did nothing. We had photos of the guy defecating and peeing on the sidewalk after climbing out of his van. We had pictures of him sleeping in the van with his nasty feet sticking out the window, with beer cans and other trash surrounding the van as well as his excrement. It is a public health issue, plus the guy in the van, slept there for weeks, in a residential parking place without a Monroe county tag. Cops did nothing, much as they do when it comes to bicyclists who break the law and harm innocent people.

          The cops wouldn’t even go close to this guy.

  7. Sadly, it is clear that (many) in the KWPD feel above the law, right up to the officer in charge; as well as some in the FDLE. This investigation has taken way too long. Maybe a way to speed things up, is to SUSPEND every person involved WITHOUT PAY, including Donnie Lee, until its resolved. Might make some come forward and tell the truth so this tragedy can be put to rest.

  8. I continue to be very sad about what appears to be a cover up – not to mention the tragic death of a man. I don’t mean to diminish that life. I’m not sure how the evidence was kept from the Grand Jury, but there certainly is enough evidence to cast a very suspect eye on the KWPDwhen all the information is considered. Could it be there really was a conflict of interest on the part of Special Agent Supervisor Kathy Smith? When we read now that she is suspended because she allegedly lied about whether she was married to her legally divorced husband on mortage papers, we have to wonder whether she was trustworthy. I don’t know the law, but I sure hope this case can be revisited. Thanks to the Blue Paper for all it does to keep this case alive!

  9. I would have to go so far as to say the Citizen is complicit in all of this. They have managed to delete a lot of details on this case from day-one.

  10. Just watched the entire thing. Just look at all of those waddling, overweight cops!!! They have nothing better to do than to kill an innocent 61 year old visitor to Key West. Folks, this could easily happen to any one of us or our loved ones, because we know the KWPD dislikes the locals more than they dislike the visitors.

  11. I would love to see this covered on CBS Evening News and 60 Minutes. They did an initial story in May, but this info and the Kathy Smith fraud info really exposes this for the murder and cover-up that it is.

    Blue Paper, contact them!!!!

    The Mayor and Commissioners need to quickly become active on this issue. It could save their political butts if they actually DID something.

  12. Ar around 3:40 in the video there’s a good view of what I call “The Swarm”. Thirteen officers on scene means 13 cruisers. Whenever there’s a ‘situation’ it seems like every policeman on duty feels compelled to drive to the location, for reasons that aren’t clear to me. Who’s out there protecting the rest of the city?

  13. To the Key West police , Yes you bastards killed Mr Eimers. You killed him . Most curses are not deserved but you police deserve this one !!!!

  14. I think we are lucky that Kathy Smith was so….oh, pick a word… lazy, criminal, stupid, that she didn’t track down the cell phone owner. My guess is that video would have “mysteriously” disappeared, and we would never have known about it. Major kudos to the Eimers’ attorneys for tracking it down, and again I have to thank Naja and Arnaud and TheBluePaper.com for having the guts for reporting this absolutely repulsive story. Mayor, Commissioners, City Manager, Catherine Vogel…grow some cajones and do the right thing. These criminal cops MUST be prosecuted and ANY elected leader that continues to ignore, keep silent, or worse, protect these people should be arrested for complicity as well. Unfortunately stupidity is not a crime.

  15. This homicide coverup is not happening in a vacuum, it’s happening in the environment of a vicious conspiracy against local homeless citizens, one of which, the arresting officers assumed Mr Eimers was.
    I submit the conspiracy leaders are among the wealthiest owners in key west and that they are members in good standing of our dear Chamber of Commerce. “Visibly homeless people are bad for business” the merchants say. [as if the tourists have never seen homeless people where the tourists come from, hahaha]
    The anti-homeless campaign isn’t laid out on paper, the architects are silent in public, they only speak their malicious slanderous de-humanization of poor people in private chambers. The city’s minions get the point that there’s no protection for the under-class homeless and all methods is de facto aproved to eradicate their obvious presence in our puffed-up “paradise” including thuggery. Prejudice against the homeless is cool and condoned in the coral city.
    Look at the local corporate newspaper always saying “homeless man [or woman]” in every headline when they do something wrong. That is biased reporting to make the condition of homelessness almost sound like a criminal occupation.
    The shame of the unintentional homicide of Mr Eimers is borne by more than the perpetrators, it also belongs to the tourist operators who encourage municipal prejudice against poor people without shelter.
    Key West, the city of “one human family,” would love to do better than to follow the lead of the bigots of commerce…

    • I’m not saying that the cops don’t target certain homeless people, but it would appear you’re way-far out there.

      I don’t think anyone has a problem with a person who has lost his/her job and is trying to pull themselves back up. But the people in this town who work two, even three jobs to make ends meet are fed up with the drunk, drugged up, aggressive panhandlers and scammers who choose their lifestyle.

      Check one of the local hat shops for a new tin hat. Yours is obviously leaking.

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