KEY WEST, FL — A retiree died mysteriously in police custody and was inexplicably hauled off to a crematorium and nearly incinerated — before any autopsy was performed and without notice or consent of the family. Police reports contradict eyewitness video; the family insists a murder coverup took place; and conflicts of interest appear to exist among the state’s investigation team.
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The bizarre situation took place began when Charles Eimers, 61, was pulled over on a routine traffic stop. Mr. Eimers was a recent retiree from Michigan who transplanted to Florida.
At around 8:20 a.m. on November 28, 2013, — Thanksgiving Day — police claimed that Mr. Eimers passed an Key West police officer’s vehicle using a lane designated for left-turns only. The Blue Paper detailed the traffic stop:
Eimers, who was driving his PT Cruiser westbound on North Roosevelt Boulevard, allegedly used the left turn lane to pass officer Gary Celcer’s police car. Celcer activated his siren and Eimers immediately stopped across from Pizza Hut near the intersection of Roosevelt and Kennedy Drive. Eimers handed his driver’s license to Celcer who “noted the interior of the car to be very disheveled and possibly that Eimers has been living out of the vehicle”.
Then, for reasons unknown, while Celcer was running Eimers’ license, Eimers backed out of the spot, got back onto the road and began driving toward downtown. Celcer followed in pursuit but the PT Cruiser was passing cars using the center lane and Celcer prudently decided to “discontinue actively trying to stop Eimers”. He “turned off [his] siren and emergency lights” and he called for back-up.
At that point it seems as though every police car on duty joined in the pursuit of Eimers’ PT Cruiser. Patrol cars were reportedly driving carefully (stopping at traffic lights), but at least one car spotted by a witness was reportedly going an estimated 50 mph on Duval Street.
Eimers was spotted by Officer Kathyann Wanciak at the intersection of Amelia and Duval “smoking a cigarette with his left hand and driving with his right hand.”
At the end of Duval Street Eimers’ PT Cruiser turned into South Beach, made a slow u-turn onto the sand and stopped on the beach. It was around 8:30 am.
Reports show that Eimers calmly and carefully led police on a brief pursuit, lasting under ten minutes. Mr. Eimers’ PT Cruiser was on the beach and a gaggle of police officers had their weapons drawn demanding that he surrender.
Cell phone video captured at the beach by an eyewitness clearly shows Mr. Eimers slowly and calmly laying down in the sand behind his PT Cruiser so that police officers could arrest him. Watch this take place below:
However, there were numerous conflicting reports exist among emergency personnel. An officer’s police report claims that Mr. Eimers ran away from his vehicle, then collapsed, and never regained consciousness.
Another official police account from KWPD’s Officer Lovette claimed that “Eimers exited the car and began actively fighting.” Police even charged Mr. Eimers with resisting arrest “with violence.”
The video — which surfaced after the police reports were made — contradicts the officers’ stories. The seriousness of these discrepancies comes from the fact that Charles Eimers somehow died after calmly surrendering that morning on the beach.
Police admitted that a taser was “placed on the back of the subject” during the arrest, but according to police statements, no tasing was done to the victim. However, some eyewitnesses told The Blue Paper something quite different:
“They tased him in the neck,” says one server who asked not to be identified, and after that he didn’t move – he was out. Then they rolled him over and started compression.”
“I was about 30 feet away,” says another, “I saw him [a police officer] taser him [Eimers]. He didn’t lift the taser from his chest. I could see his legs jerking when they were tasing him… it lasted a good 6 minutes… The female cop was not involved in all that.”
Exactly what transpired is not clear. But reportedly, within less than 5 minutes of surrendering, Mr. Eimers stopped breathing and turned “blue in the face.”
The unconscious man was transported to the hospital and placed on life support. It was not until 4 days later that any family members were notified. CBS reported that the detective who was responsible for notifying the family used the excuse that it was unnecessary because the patient “hadn’t died yet.”
After a week of unconsciousness, the patient’s son, Treavor Eimers, made the decision to stop life support; his father had not been receiving proper oxygen to the brain. Charles Eimers died on December 4, 2013.
Treavor says he had confidently assumed that an autopsy would be performed; it was also required by Florida law. However, with no logical explanation being offered, the police hurriedly shipped his body off to a funeral home and asked for it to be cremated, CBS reported. This was not only against police protocol but also against the law, and was done behind the backs of the surviving family members. By sheer luck and coincidence, the funeral home did not get to the cremation in a timely fashion — the body was there for 7 days.
After the evidence was nearly destroyed, an autopsy was performed, yielding some remarkable results. Mr. Eimers was found to have ten (10) broken ribs, as well as wounds around both ribs, the Miami Herald reported. While no official explanations were offered on the cause of death, Monroe County Medical Examiner Dr. E. Scheuerman ruled out heart attack as a cause.
Treavor was appalled after he learned that the sketchy versions of events which he was being told were so far removed from what the cell phone video showed. His father had not begun fist-fighting when he stepped out of the car and collapsed from exhaustion.
“I watched the video, and I had no words. Everything that I was told while I was here was a lie,” said Treavor to CBS. “He was murdered by those officers.”
Hat tip to Key West’s The Blue Paper for pursuing justice in the Charles Eimers case.