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.

The Walking Dead Story

The new video completely contradicts one point nearly all of the officers have insisted upon:  They said Eimers only went limp after they tried to lift him and walk him to the police cruiser.  The video however doesn’t show officers attempting to lift Mr. Eimers up.  He was on his belly, hands shackled behind his back, legs hobbled.  When officers realized he had stopped breathing, they untied him, rolled him onto his back and within two minutes began CPR. He left on a stretcher.   Yet strangely this “rising to his feet,” is one story most officers swore to in their depositions, sometimes  with minute detail,

Officer Gustavo Medina :

Medina: “He was resisting the entire time until we lifted him up…. When we brought him up is when he went unconscious.”

Q: :“How was Mr. Eimers lifted?”

Medina: :I put my arms under his belly.”

Q:  Was he in the prone position when he was being lifted?”

Medina: “Yes.”

Officer Gary Lee Lovette:

Lovette: “He was still breathing and fighting when we raised him.”

Officer DelValle:

DelValle: “When we lifted him up he was struggling to get to his feet.  He leaned forward.  I saw his legs moving to try to stand up.”

Officer Gabriel Garrido:

Garrido: “We attempted to lift him out of the sand before noticing he was unconscious. I recall I lifted him by his shoulders. We noticed he was unconscious while we lifted him.”

Officer Nicholas Galbo:

Galbo: “At that point he was sitting up.  He was leaned up.”

Q: On his butt?

Galbo: “Yes.”…  “We decided to stand Mr. Eimers up and walk him over to the patrol car.”

The reader can verify that the new video doesn’t show any of that happening.  Eimers was found to be unconscious while lying prone in the sand, rolled over onto his back, then treated with CPR.

So why this insistence on representing that Eimers was nearly able to stand up even though he was already virtually dead? Arguably these creative stories have been essential to the defense. They enabled the Medical Examiner to rule out asphyxiation: How could Charles Eimers have died smothered in the sand if he was still alive when he was lifted up off the sand where there was plenty of air to breathe?

The Peaceful Portrait Story

“Blood is not good,” attorney Darren Horan told us, “blood in the arrest of an unarmed subdued old man spells excessive force.”  According to FDLE’s Kathy Smith and sworn testimony by some of the officers, Eimers had no blood on his face and “only a light dusting of sand.”

“I didn’t see at any time Mr. Eimers face planted in the sand,” swore Officer Delvalle during his deposition two week ago.  But on Friday both Chief Donie Lee and Sergeant Joseph Tripp, of Internal Affairs, were put face to face with the gruesome photos of Charles Eimers’ showing his head bloodied and all caked up with sand.

From Officer Galbo’s deposition:

Q:  Did you look at his [Eimers] face.?

A:  “Yes.”

Q:  “Was there any sand?”

A:  “No.”

Q:   “Was there any blood?”

A:  “No.”

Same with Officer DelValle:

Q:  Was there sand on his face?

A:  “There was residual sand around his nose.”

Chief Lee had to agree with the Eimers family attorneys, “It appears that he had sand on his face.”

Q:  Why does his face appear different here than on the photo taken by officer Stevens?

A:  I don’t know.

Q:  Did Officer Stevens clean up his face before taking the photo?

A:  I don’t know.

Q:  Aren’t your officers making false statements under oath? Aren’t they guilty of perjury?   Are you the one in charge?

Sometimes it’s not that great to be the Chief.

But there was more.

The Time Machine Story

There’s the problem of the man who was in two places at the same time. Motorcycle cop Officer Randall Hartle was not there or rather according to the CAD report he did not arrive on scene until long after it was all over.

Now, according to KWPD, these CAD reports represent an incorruptible system of data collection. Yet in this new video Officer Hartle appears mysteriously on scene at a time when the CAD readout clearly shows that he would not arrive until over 20 minutes later. Does someone have a time machine at KWPD or was the data tampered with?

A similar controversy involves Officer Gary Lee Lovette’s Taser.  Three civilian witnesses testified they saw or heard a Taser being fired.  Officer Wanciak testified she saw Officer Lovette placing the Taser on Eimer’s upper back.  The video shows Lovette’s arm arguably in position to Tase Eimers, yet the data report collected for that particular Taser shows that it was fired 2 hours after the incident with Eimers – at 10:35 am – for 5 sec.

On the video Wanciak is seen making a call to dispatch. She is assigned code #P48.  Dispatch CAD data indicates that a transmission from Officer P48 came in informing that Eimers “was Tased”, but officer Wanciak testified on Friday that she didn’t make such a report.  Then, 2 hours later another CAD entry states “not Tased” even though no investigation has yet been conducted regarding the officers’ Taser devices.

Needless to say Eimers family lawyers had a field day with their cover-up allegations.

The Mysterious Scream Story

The new video also supported the testimony of a tourist from Maryland, who reported having heard Charles Eimers yell “Ow! You’re hurting me!”  This complaint is heard loud and clear in the new video.  The Chief admitted that the voice was not that of any of his officers and that it had to be Eimers.  FDLE’s Kathy Smith claimed in her investigative report that the “Ow!” heard on Officer Medina’s external dashcam mic had come from Officer Gabriel Garrido who had gotten his finger stuck in the handcuff.

There is now some solid proof that the officers escalated and incited resistance by hurting the old man and carelessly allowed him to suffocate in the sand.

By 6:00 pm, when the depositions ended, the accumulation of lies that had been exposed that day had worked a nauseous daze over those of us in attendance.  The crowded conference room emptied out with attendees barely looking at each other.  More depositions are scheduled for next week.

Stay tuned.


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

Facebook Comments


  1. Just back from Miami. Opening Night of our show “Five Guys Named Moe”. Sellout crowd at the Lyric Theater in ‘Overtown’. “Rave Reviews” from the Miami Herald and other critics…..

    Now to the business at hand…..

    I’ve been informed that the FDLE supervisor and special agents overseeing the killing of Mr. Eimers, coordinated and colluded with the State Attorney’s Office, to included some of its investigators and prosecutors; in exchanging possible story line interpretations, information and evidence; designed to develop a work product that could be used to conceal and cover-up the commission of any crimes that might have led up to, and followed, the murder of Mr. Eimers.

    Based upon this information, it appears that some individuals within KWPD may have actively participated in, and facilitated this criminal conspiracy. The evidence suggests that a fraud may have been perpetrated upon the ‘grand jury’, residents of Key West and the United States of America.

    The aforementioned malfeasance, has been typically punished with lengthy terms of hard time in our toughest prisons. If found guilty, for the cast of characters allegedly involved in these crimes, it would mean a death sentence.

    My pleas for an independent, impartial, accurate and detailed investigation of the killing of Mr. Eimers were ignored.

    It appears that the intent and focus of those responsible to secure a truthful and valid examination of this tragedy; were instead concentrated upon destroying evidence, suppressing and tampering with the facts, intimidating witnesses and obfuscating justice; in preparation for a skewed and biased proffering of their findings to our ‘grand jury’.

    Apparently, this travesty of justice has been unraveling for awhile. Dealing with similar issues, I’ve described the process.

    Although the wheels of justice grind slowly; the rats will jump ship, turn on one another, inform (snitch) on everyone they can, cut a deal with anyone who’ll have them, and accept any plea deal they may be given. It has been my experience, the type of alleged crimes addressed in Mr. Eimers’ death are usually punished with an extended stay in prison.

    I’ve been apprised that the continued festering of this wound has become a source of embarrassment, rendering a ‘black mark’ upon the Justice Department. Although undergoing a change in leadership, they’ve described the ‘criminal negligence’ implicated in this matter, as having reached a ‘tipping point’.

    Arnaud and Naja Girard are working their miracle via The Blue Paper…

  2. Donnie Lee sure looks uncomfortable in this video. He knows the end is near. You and your “jack booted thugs” are going down. Be afraid Donnie Lee, be very afraid!

  3. Wow, just Wow!! there you have it Key West; your mighty chief of a paramilitary organization of jackbooted thugs looking like a frightened 10 year old boy. really, this is a chief of police? hardly seems like a commanding presence to me; just a typical bully finally confronted with a force greater (and smarter) than he. and he just bends over like a limp noodle. as Mr. Donnelly has said, look for the rats of this sinking ship start to jumping all over each other to broker deals.

    still doesn’t mean they will be held accountable; never underestimate the intimidation factor they can wield. there is a reason why juries routinely set guilty cops free in seemingly slam dunk cases.

  4. Thank you Naja and Arnaud. Just my ex-Alabama lawyer opinion, Chief Lee and the 13 police officers involved in the Eimers case, and their supervising officer, Scott Smith, husband of Kathy Smith, should be put on administrative leave immediately by City Manager Jim Scholl, to whom Chief Lee directly answers. If Scholl does not do that by the next city commission meeting, Mayor Cates and the six city commissioners, to whom Scholl directly answers, should order Scholl to put Lee and those officers on administrative leave.

    As for your comments, John Donnelly, if you have personally asked officials in the US Department of Justice (DOJ) to investigate this case, and through your own investigation of this case and of the DOJ you have learned DOJ officials and State Attorney Catherine Vogel and the two assistant state attorney prosecutors she assigned to the grand jury also were in on the conspiracy you outline, then those DOJ officials, Vogel and her two prosecutors are as guilty in the cover up and destruction of evidence as the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the KWPD. Meaning, I’m asking you to tell us the names of the DOJ officials, with whom you seem to have spoken, and the names of any DOJ officials you say are part of the conspiracy. As to anyone being at risk to the death penalty in this case, this ex-lawyer thinks that at the very least would require premeditation by the person or persons who actually did the killing, and the death penalty would not apply to people who after the fact participated in cover up and destruction of evidence and refusal to prosecute, etc. I agree, however, anyone who did participate after the fact, as you described, should do hard prison time for a good while.

    1. To be clear, John Donnelly did not say in his comment that he had any indication that DOJ was complicit in any way in “the conspiracy” or “cover up” or “destruction of evidence”.

  5. I am glad to see in today’s Key West Citizen article on the deposition yesterday, that the Citizen is not turning a blind eye like the city mayor and city commissioners and city manager are doing. I hope the Citizen now will aggressively go after the cover up, destruction of evidence and obstruction of justice by Chief Lee, his officers, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, and State Attorney Catherine Vogel and the two assistant state attorneys she assigned to dupe the grand jury. I personally think the grand jury was in on the cover up. I think the grand jury did what it wanted to do, instead of what it was required to do. What the grand jury wanted to do was whitewash this case and let the police officers off, because they believed Charles Eimers was homeless. Thus believing, they behaved like good Nazis should behave.

  6. WOW! WOW! WOW! Massive KUDOS to David and Darren Harran and the entire the legal team. Incredible work. Kickin ass and takin names baby!!! What a gift to have these upstanding and truth devoted on the side of the people!!!!!!! And to Naja, Arnaud and the Blue Paper….. You guys ROCK!!!! Thank you for your selfless reporting on behalf of us all. Peace, love and prayers to you all.

  7. Where I practiced law, Alabama, it was a rule of evidence in litigation, that the trier of fact, either a judge or a jury, was entitled to make every adverse inference against a defendant the trier of fact finds covered up and/or destroyed material evidence. That law also applied in federal litigation in Alabama. I imagine that’s still the law there, and I imagine that’s the law in Florida, too.

  8. My belief is that people are inherently forgiving when a guilty party promptly admits a wrong and asks for that forgiveness, but our police department decided to go the other route of denial and cover-up and now will pay the price… Actually the citizens of Key West will pay the price, not only financially, but our “One Human Family” trademark will have become a sick joke.

      1. but but but sister remember the deep profound insight of one of their primary leaders of the one human family liberal agenda when she proclaimed ” What difference at this point does it make?”

  9. After reading the big news yesterday at 3:30 PM, I’m surprised (happily) to see a new lead story regarding the deposition of Donnie Lee. Wow, the dude looks like a deer caught in the headlights! If he had an ounce of integrity, he would immediately fire those officers who have already perjured themselves. And if he had 2 ounces of integrity, he would resign his position. As should the mayor, commissioners, city manager, and the State Attorney. Well, one can dream, can’t one?

    I agree with the above posters, but I do want to comment on what John D said about the death penalty. I believe he meant, and please correct me if I’m wrong, the fact that these “law enforcement officers”, due to their (hopefully former) positions, will not be looked upon very favorably by the rest of the prison population. Too bad and tough shit. You make your bed and you gotta sleep in it.

    Every one of these criminal bastards should be crapping all over themselves about now. Although I am currently out of town, I’m happy to hear the local fishwrapper has finally gotten its head out of its ass and has provided a little coverage about this too. I guess a day late and a dollar short is better than the nothing kind of coverage they have provided thus far.

    I don’t know what it takes to be nominated for a Pulitzer Prize but I’ll going to find out. I don’t believe there is a bigger story in the state of Florida and thanks to Naja and Arnaud and, we have been witnesses to their incredible work. Bravo!

  10. this boat buyer had the misfortune of being in the
    godforsaken hellhole called Island of Bones/ KeyWorst, for eleven months recently.
    After the diabolical oligarchs who operate the $200million$ NY Mafia marina ‘village’ on StockIsland commandeered my vessel that was paying $2,000/month dockage, towed her out to sea, and stranded her, where she was swamped
    and sank a week later (now submerged in 35ft water
    with only her antennae protruding –a major Hazard
    next to the cruise ship lane
    2 miles SW of Fort Zach)–
    after the wealthy criminals caused my boat to be ruined and become a serious Public Safety threat,
    I was rendered homeless for seven months.

    Then I really got to know the wicked corrupt island
    where so-called friends and moneygrubbing business types and plain strangers rat out others to the dum-dum sadistic dangerous badges/guns for no good reason.

    Now i warn everybody, in person and print, to not
    go near the toxic cesspool that is KeyWest.
    The murder of Mr. Eimers is just par for the course
    in that evil place of $300/night rooms and liquor
    exploitation and StormTrooper trespass.

    I just can hardly wait for Gaia Hurricane to wash all the termites into the Sea. Good Riddance to the
    money-Scum that inhabits that zombie-haunt.

    1. mr freer
      instead of demeaning kw in its entirety and wishing it washed away by hurricane perhaps some self reflection is in order for singlehandedly making such a moronically dumb choice in buying a bucket of rust prime for the scrap heap of artificial reef creation to begin with. stupid is as stupid does.

      as for referring to us residents in general as termites and money-scum it seems to me you would be $8000 better off to the good without your foolish and idiotic decision in making your profoundly dopey investment in the rust market.

      perhaps you would be interested in a bridge?

    2. Huh? I mean, seriously – HUH?

      Our post has nothing to do with this story. I’m sorry for your predicament, but still, to buy a rotted tug without knowledge of boating and safety is not the fault of whomever took your vessel. I’m not sure why it was commandeered, but bottom line, a massive number of people live on boats in this town and visit this town on their boats and ‘taking’ of boats is not a normal thing. Generally, it happens if you’ve not paid your dockage and fees, or if you’re creating an environmental hazard.

      Again, I’m sorry for your problem, but to blame others when you haven’t done your own due diligence as to the responsibilities of boat ownership is simply wrong. It’s time to grow up and put on your big boy pants and take responsibility for your own actions and sadly, your own mistakes.

  11. Thank you ‘FORMERBANKER’ for clarifying my ‘death sentence’ comment. You are ‘spot on’ in my meaning and intent.

    Brother Sloan,

    As you know, successfully infiltrating and penetrating a murderously corrupt paramilitary operation, can be an extraordinarily difficult and dangerous task. Life threatening risks are regularly taken on by those engaged in such activity. The data, intelligence and transparency that they are willing to share with the outside world is a valued source of information. These individuals are comfortably cognizant that their identities will be forever safeguarded. It kind of falls in with the old adage: “If I tell you, I’ll have to kill you”.

    We don’t do violence anymore.

    Therefore, it’s incumbent upon me to recognize, respect and protect the trust that I’ve been given. Violations of this trust have cost people their lives, careers and a chance to live free and earn an income. In many instances, a breach of this trust has caused lethal harm to innocent family members.

    It’s a high stakes and deadly enterprise, that should not be toyed with…

    Patience is a required virtue that will manifest itself during a deliberative legal process. Rushing to judgment isn’t necessary, as the evidence will identify, prove beyond a reasonable doubt and convict the guilty.

    Moving on…

    Researching through the articles published in “The Blue Paper” that address Mr. Eimers’ killing; while compiling a succinct, yet detailed file, which highlights the alleged misconduct and criminal activity of the KWPD, FDLE, Medical Examiner and State Attorney’s Office contained therein; will with certainty impact the outcome of this case; if we then forward this file to the United States Attorney, Justice Department, FBI, The President of the United States and the Southern Poverty Law Center.

    Parenthetic rhetoric, observations, criticism and judgments will divert the scales of justice.

    Bloviating will disrupt the stream of consciousness required for a clear and surgically precise presentation of the facts.

    We are not outsiders in this matter. Our determined and steadfast pursuit of justice for Mr. Eimers’ will be realized, if we stay the course and categorically confirm ourselves to make a difference.

    Love, Blessings and Respect…..

  12. So we have PROOF that the officers lied. Why are they still on the street and not on disciplinary/administrative leave pending investigation immediately? That is the scandal that directly affects Chief Lee and the entire department. Perhaps it’s time to disband the police department entirely. It seems that the experiment has run its course, and it was not successful.

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