Nobody has the power to ruin your day, unless maybe you live in Key West or elsewhere in the Florida Keys?

make my day

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In the Key West Citizen today:

Saturday, February 15, 2014
‘Nobody has the power to ruin your day’
Teen singer with antibullying message inspires Keys students

“Nobody has the power to ruin your day.”

That was the truth that 15-year-old singer Lizzie Sider brought to hundreds of area students during a tour of county schools on Friday.

The up-and-coming Nashville recording artist brought her musical message of hope and triumph over adversity to enthusiastic elementary and middle school students at Plantation Key, Horace O’Bryant and Sugarloaf schools. About 250 fourth- through eighth-grade students jammed the cafeteria at Sugarloaf to see Sider, who didn’t let a bout of laryngitis keep her from performing her hit song “Butterfly,” and speaking out on the issue of bullying.

Sider is a South Florida native currently on a 100 school tour of the Sunshine State in support of “Butterfly,” which has already garnered over a million views on YouTube. She recently completed a grueling tour of California schools, and is planning to hit Texas next.

But it was the issue of bullying, wherever it takes place, that was on Sider’s mind Friday, as she danced around the cafeteria with the enthusiasm and professionalism one might expect from a performer twice her age.

During an extended introduction of her now famous song, Sider let down her guard a little and told her story.

“I was teased by the other kids in my grade,” she said solemnly. “They’d call me names, and exclude me from games at recess. They wouldn’t let me sit with them at lunch.”

To cope, Sider said, she began singing to herself. When the other kids noticed her doing so, they asked her to sing for them. What Sider perceived as an opening for her turned to dashed hopes when her peers mocked her singing voice.

“I used to leave school crying almost every day,” Sider said. “I begged my parents to take me out of school.”

The torture continued from the time she was in kindergarten until sometime in fourth grade when Sider had an epiphany.

“One day when I was leaving for school, my dad said to me, ‘Nobody has the power to ruin your day,'” Sider said. “I didn’t get it at first, but eventually it began to sink in. We decide whether somebody can affect us. Once I realized that, things began to change.”

Yellow rubber wristbands emblazoned with the saying were distributed to the students.

Sider then asked the crowd — school staff included — to close their eyes and put up their hands if they had ever been teased or bullied. She then requested they all open their eyes at the same time. A murmur swept through the audience as the near-universality of the issue began to sink in.

Taking another tack, Sider threw out the names of a number of prominent Americans, including singer Taylor Swift, President Obama, and the late Steve Jobs of Apple computers. When Sider asked the students what these famous and successful people all had in common, fourth grader Antonio Doblas called out, “They might have been bullied.”

Sider then asked the group why they thought bullies acted the way they do.

“Because they were bullied themselves,” replied Christopher Rackley, another fourth grader.

Sixth-grade student Reagan Fountain posited that bullies try “to make themselves feel better about themselves” by hurting others.

Victims of this kind of mistreatment should always keep in mind that there’s somebody out there who will listen to their problems, Sider insisted, such as a teacher, a friend, or a family member.

A sea of nodding heads greeted Sider’s inquiry, “Who here really looks up to bullies?”

On the contrary, the singer added, most everybody admires those who stand up to bullies.

“These are the kind of people we should try to emulate,” Sider said.

She then asked how the bullies who tormented Swift, Obama and Jobs probably feel today, now that they’re grown persons themselves.

“Shameful!” came the loud response from one student.

At this point, Sider drafted fourth-grade teacher Linda Diaz to become her “new band leader.” Teachers and school choir singers then launched into “Butterfly” with their voices and an array of musical instruments prompting a Beatlemania-like response from the screaming students. Sider led her minstrels, including Sugarloaf Principal Harry Russell, around the cafeteria, as a group of pupils wearing butterfly wings on their backs, jumped up and down with excitement.

“Look after each other like your own little brother or sister,” Sider said, encouraging the students to step in and help each other out when bully-type situations arise.

She reminded them, however, that the road of life is rocky, and that even as they grow older, they’re likely to encounter other forms of negativity throughout their lives.

“I want to be a professional singer,” Sider said. “Every day I hear people say I can’t do it, that I can’t make it. There will always be people out there who will try to knock you down.”

Sider’s performance drew strong applause from Principal Rusell.

“She has a very powerful message, and the students listen to her because she’s still practically a kid herself,” Russell said. “She’s going to be a big star some day, so the students are lucky to be seeing her now. This is also another example of us doing everything we can to eradicate bullying from our school system.”

Sugarloaf School Counselor Rebecca Palomino, who helped arrange Sider’s visit to the Keys, agreed.

“Her message is positive, powerful and great,” she said. “It really hits home with the kids because she’s so close to them in age.”

Sider donated her time and talent to the 100 schools she will visit in Florida, free of charge.

down the rabbit holehead up ass

Nice story, and imagine it will encourage the School Board, Superintendent of Schools, principals and teachers to continue their ardent love affair with keeping their heads where the sun don’t shine about the pervasive bullying and hazing in Key West and Florida Keys public schools, which I don’t hear happens in charter schools down here. On that positive note, in this week’s issue of Key West the Newspaper – www.thebluepaper.comThere is an interesting home video I was unable to transfer into this below,which you should be able see if you click on the date below:


Bhajan and Naomi

Naomi and Bhajan grew up on boats anchored behind Wisteria Island.  Like many other kids living on the anchorage, they explored the island, sang for tips at Mallory Square, and rowed back and forth on kayaks to boat sleepovers.   When Hurricane Wilma sunk most boats, the families moved onto Wisteria Island for a time.  With no TV or computer, Bhajan and Naomi became avid readers and, of course, in keeping with the tradition of their bohemian lifestyle – they never went to school – until this year that is.

In 2013 they both decided that at 16 it was time to start wearing shoes and meddling with those “house kids”.  They both enrolled in Key West High School.  But, this new experience was met with very differing results.  At this point it is important to mention that Bhajan is white and Naomi is black (at least half black; her father is steel band musician and singer Toko Irie.)

The reader is invited to have a look at the video interview above – shot not long after Bhajan and Naomi had individual meetings with a Key Wet High School guidance counselor.  Neither of them had any school records, they hadn’t taken any entrance exams, yet Bhajan was offered and encouraged to sign up for as many “honors classes” as he could while Naomi, the black girl, was told that under no circumstances could she be placed in any honors classes.

“I was told I had to enter into the remedial reading class and that I had no choice,” says Naomi who claimed to be bored to death in the remedial class.  “I am in there with two or three Russian girls who don’t speak English and with Haitian kids and Cuban kids who barely speak English.”

She thought she could shine her way out of this predicament only to discover that the deck was stacked against her.  “I wrote an essay about Halloween, which I really worked hard on and I thought it was good.”  The teacher, however, assumed the essay had been copied, “She told me I was not allowed to use plagiarism and gave me a ‘C’.”

At 16, knowing about prejudice and experiencing its shameful affects are two different things. To the question, “Do you believe racism is involved?” Naomi answered:  “What else could it be?”  And this is the part where we write:  “This is hopefully an isolated incident.” After some intervention from above, Naomi is now in an “English Honors” class.

We were surprised to see that segregation in Key West schools is alive and well and in full swing.  Through districting, bussing, and ‘parental choice’, the old prejudices somehow manage to creep back out of the walls.

This is not a new problem.  In 2006 Mandy Miles wrote an in-depth article in The Citizen about our segregated school system.  She wrote:  “Enrollment is becoming a black and white issue in Key West elementary schools, where officials want to balance a growing disparity in the ethnic makeup of the four schools.”  Quoted were both Frank Spoto, then principal of Horace O’Bryant Middle School and Amber Bosco, then principal of Poinciana Elementary, who both agreed that the time had come to take a hard look at desegregation.

Children of Bahama Village were bussed to Gerald Adams on Stock Island, meaning some children travelled across the island, past two other schools to get to Gerald  Adams.  “Basically we had segregated schools,” said Andy Griffiths who has been a member of the school board since 1992.  It goes back to desegregation, bussing kids from Bahama Village six miles to Gerald Adams which was then called the “dump school” [a play on words because of its proximity to the trash dump].

Today, while the gap has closed somewhat, the district map has changed very little and the bussing of Bahama Village children continues. Gerald Adams now has a 25% black student population while Poinciana, much closer to Bahama Village, has only 14.5% black students.  Part of the problem stems from parents insisting that their sons and daughters enroll in what’s perceived as the “better” elementary school, Poinciana.

Andy Griffith deplores this state of affairs.  “The way it is now, some of these kids don’t even meet each other until they get to 9th grade.  There are some white girls (from up the Keys) who may not have ever seen a black boy before!”

One of the major culprits, says Griffith, is the state of Florida which encourages “school choice” and the creation of charter schools.  “Charter schools have a huge advantage:  they don’t have large numbers of minority and “special needs” children to attend to.  They don’t have to work as hard to get that ‘A’.”

Charter schools also appear to feed segregation undercurrents.   In fact, student demographic data made available by the school district shows that Key West Collegiate (charter high) has only 4% black students and Montessori has only 1%.  Likewise, Sigsbee Charter school which caters to some 500 students, and like all public schools receives around $8,000/student each year, has only 7% black students.

Are we, in subtle and not so subtle ways, recreating a system that was long ago deemed unfair and the cause of social inequality? It looks that way… The paradox however is that the school with the highest percentage of black students in many regards is doing better than some of the predominantly white schools. At Gerald Adams, not only have students generally performed well when compared with state standards [for example a higher percentage of 5th grade students scored at level three or above on the reading FCAT than the state average in 2013], but black and white student performance on the reading FCAT was nearly identical with 65% and 67% respectively achieving scores at level 3 or above.

Poinciana, on the other hand, last year showed remarkable disparity between the two races with 79% of white (non-Hispanic) 5th grade students and only 40% of black students scoring in the level 3 or higher range.    At Sigsbee Charter School 64% of 5th graders scored at level 3 or above in reading last year.

“My students may be living in poverty,” said Gerald Adams principal Dr. Fran Herrin [back in 2006], “and they may be of color, but every single one of them is just as important as every other student in this district.”  By putting her ideas into action Dr. Herrin has turned Gerald Adams, the old “dump school,” into a grade “A” school.

“Yes,” says Mike Mongo, a longtime advocate for racial integration, “It’s not so much a question of organizations or even resources. You have to take it personally.  It means that every person, not just school teachers, but employers, neighbors, politicians, everyone has to make a point of bridging the gap and that is the only way to fix it.”


    • David, were the charter schools in KW and the Keys formed because of lack of religion in the public schools? That’s not a facetious question. Nor is my next question: Were those schools formed because white people didn’t want their kids in schools with kids from black, brown or yellow families? I know private academies sprung up all over the south for those reasons, but that’s the first I heard it might have happened in Keys charter schools? From what I’ve heard, Keys charter schools were started because parents didn’t like the education practices in public schools, nor did they like the way kids often were treated in public schools by other kids and by teachers. I heard plenty about the problems in the public schools when I ran for the school board in 2012. So much did I hear, that I concluded every school in the Keys should go charter, to rid itself of the school board and the superintendent and the school administration, and thereby be able to hire their own principal and teachers, and fire them at will, without having to deal with the teacher’s union or school district bureaucracy. I still feel every school in the district should go charter for those reasons. I never did understand why Gerald Adams school was built way out on Stock Island, so far from most KW neighborhoods. If, in fact, it was predominantly for black school children, that would explain it. If Gerald Adams is as good as reported in this article, that’s a pretty piece of irony, perhaps boomerang karma is another way of saying it. I first heard Poinciana is a white supremacy school during the 2012 school board races. One of the candidates in my voting district (3) had two kids at Poinciana, even though he and his family lived up the Keys. I never did feel I got a good answer out of him about why his kids did not attend Sugarloaf School, which they were driven by every day on their way down to Key West to Poinciana Elementary School. I wondered why that was even allowed?

  1. Dang, Andy Griffiths, what in the hell does Naomi getting racially discriminated against have to do with charter schools? Were the school district racists who did this to Naomi fired? If not, why not? Why do we only learn of this in the blue paper? Why did not the KW Citizen report it? It can’t be only the blue paper learned of it because they are friends of Naomi and her family. The school district and school board had to know about it. I know Naomi and her family somewhat. They are really nice people to spend time around. Maybe they are examples of schools today not knowing shit from shinola about how to educate children. Whatever, a black KW Conch friend once told me that white KW Conchs don’t view black people born in Key West as Conchs. There is a white Mason’s Lodge here, and a black Mason’s Lodge, tracing back to when racial discrimination in Key West was even more hidden in plain view. Tonight, riding my bicycle near the cemetery, I watched a white couple’s Jack Russel terrier, not leashed, try to run a black man off the sidewalk. The black man made to reach down and console or pet the enraged terrier and I told the man to not do that, if he didn’t wish to lose fingers. The white couple said the terrier would not bit the man. I laughed, said the terrier indeed would bite the man if it had a chance. It had charged the man from fifteen yards the way, on Angela street’s sidewalk, barking viciously, to within a foot of the man, who was minding his own business. My bad for not asking the white couple for their names and address.

On a Little Torch Key/Big Pine Key note, which ended up drifting back down to the Happy Thanksgiving Charles Eimers case, from a frozen solid way up nawth snowbird amigo:

Sloan-hope all is going well for you in Paradise-I’m stuck up here in CT with over a foot of snow—a while back you had recommended an Attorney to a fisherman friend of mine on BPK—he retained Jerry Coleman to help him out to prevent foreclosure—he had paid Jerry over $14,000 to represent him against the lenders—I guess Jerry decided to leave Monroe county and turned the file over to a John Marston—my friend gave Marston a $5000 retainer to take up the case—a lot of money for a keys fisherman to pay-in any event it seems that this John Marston has disappeared–I tried emailing him-phone out of service—have you ever heard of him ???My friend is up against it and worries daily about be evicted–
Thanks for any help you might give–

I replied:

I heard Jerry Coleman was going to move to France, or maybe already had moved. I think he lost several pieces of real estate in foreclosure actions, which is how he got knowledgeable about that area of legal misery by trying to save his own properties. I have heard of Marsten but know nothing about him. I did some foreclosures for lenders when I practiced law in Alabama. As far as I know, there is no defense to a foreclosure, if you stop paying the mortgage note, unless a law requires the foreclosing lender to rework the note/payments. Most lawyers stall as long as they can for clients facing foreclosure, hoping to work something out, but in the end the lender tends to end up with the property. I hate it for your friend, he has lots of company down here. Back when real estate values were rising, racing higher perhaps more accurate, a lot of people mortgaged their properties at what looked like great interest rates and terms, and did something else with the cash. Then, the bottom fell out of the real estate market, as you know, and all of a sudden people owned more than their properties were worth, upside down they called it. Lot’s of people just upped and walked away from their properties. Other people tried to fight it, but eventually, like Jerry Coleman, lost. Other people tried on their own to work something out with their lender, some were able to do that, others were not. Some people just stopped paying and waited for the axe to fall. I took a beating on the sale of my place on Little Torch Key, but at least I owned if free and clear and didn’t have to worry about paying back a mortgage company. Left a big impression on me. I might never again buy real estate. I’d be far ahead, if I had not bought that place on Little Torch Key and had just rented it. Maybe your fisherman friend should stop paying lawyers, count or no count, and try to work something out directly with his mortgage holder, probably not the original lender. And, be preparing to move out and get a place to rent as Plan B. Wish I had a better suggestion. Sloan
Also, when the bubble was building and expanding, lots of people bought real estate in the Keys hoping to flip it and make a fast buck, or they bought it high, like I did, and either way, when the bubble burst and real estate prices plummeted, they were upside down. I don’t know what happened to your fisherman friend, how he got in mortgage trouble. It’s usually not a cheery outcome, though.

JW wrote:

Sloan–what happened on Little Torch Key—I always thought you had an acre over on Avon–I had lots on Winsome, near you, next to Donna Merrit—I finally gave in and sold them to the State of Florida as they would never give me a building permit due to the ROGO law -yet somehow Donna Merrit built a second home on one of her lots across the street from mine-diagonally across from her house on the corner— I still have an acre, off of Watson Blvd., over on BPK as a place to go in the event of a massive breakdown of society—I can always run a motor home in and try to survive the best I can-any word from Jack on Southard St. —Tax day for him is coming up soon—Mar 1st –I found they have already sold a lien on 713 Southard due to his partner -falsly filing a second property for homestead exemption—–who knows how that works–More snow coming tonight-Sure wish I was down below the 7 mile bridge—-and thinking of having a Roast Pork dinner at CoCo’s tonight-I’ll be stuck here in Ct for a while I guess.

I wrote:

I did have a nice place on Little Torch Key, I called it Walden, I miss it terribly, and my rat cat Miss Kitty, too, who is staying with a friend and her family on Cudjoe Key and seems to be doing okay there. I drop by every now and then to see her, she comes right up to me, we have a visit, then I leave wishing I still had her with me. I had to sell my place on Little Torch because I was running on fumes $-wise. Donna Merrit built an affordable rental home across the street from her home, which she rented out for a very reasonable rent when it was rented. Perhaps that’s why she was allowed to build it. Perhaps she had a ROGO on that lot and that was the reason. I heard the subdivision was so environmentally sensitive, the western side flooded every high tide, that the state stopped further new construction. Part of it became a state wildlife refuge. Just across the street from me was state wildlife refuge. I had just under one acre with a ROGO, which perhaps was due to my home being a trailer. I was allowed to demolish and remove the trailer and replace it with a constructed home. Never had the money to do it, otherwise I would have done it, and it would have been a wonder to behold, totally off the grid. Maybe in another lifetime 🙂

See the article in the Key West Citizen today about the Charles Eimers case. No mention in the article of the video showing Eimers following the cops orders to surrender to a T by lying face down on the sand as several cops with drawn guns approached him, surrounded him, knelt down beside and held him, as his legs started kicking and the video ended. Hell, here’s the article:

Saturday, February 15, 2014
Autopsy: Dead man had 10 broken ribs
Family’s lawyer: FDLE will interview local cops Wednesday
BY GWEN FILOSA Citizen Staff
Charles Eimers, the 61-year-old Michigan man who died in police custody Dec. 4 after a Thanksgiving Day clash with police, suffered 10 broken ribs during “medical therapy” that included use of a defibrillator, according to a preliminary autopsy report released this week.

The five pages titled “Autopsy Report” are the first records released since Eimers’ death other than the original police reports. The autopsy was conducted Dec. 12.

The rib fractures — “the anterior aspects of the right second through seventh, and left second through fifth ribs,” the report said — are listed under the category that describes the evidence of medical treatment. It only describes the medical details of Eimers’ corpse, eight days after his death.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement approved the autopsy report’s release by county Medical Examiner Dr. E. Hunt Scheuerman in response to a request by the local law firm retained by the Eimers family.

Until FDLE completes its probe, the rest of the autopsy report and any medical opinions of the cause of death will remain sealed.

State agents won’t speculate on when the investigation will end.

“The investigation into Mr. Eimers’ in-custody death is currently active and is an ongoing investigation,” said Samantha Andrews, an FDLE spokeswoman. “That’s very standard. Many variables play into the investigation. We can never set a timeline.”

Scheuerman, who conducted the autopsy Dec. 12, has not announced a cause of death or released any opinions on his findings.

“This section does not include any diagnoses or opinions; they are not complete at this time,” Scheuerman said Friday.

Police union attorneys haven’t let any of the Key West officers involved in the in-custody death speak with FDLE without legal representation. That will change Wednesday, said the lead attorney representing the Eimers’ family.

“There were major problems with everything from the get-go,” said attorney David Paul Horan, whose firm was hired in December by Eimers’ four adult children. “I do know he was not resisting arrest — period.”

The five-page report does determine that Eimers had no bruises on his scalp and no fractures on his skull.

“Rigor mortis is fully developed in all muscle groups,” Scheuerman wrote.

Eimers’ lungs were congested, the report said: “Smoking changes are associated with emphysematous changes and chronic bronchitis.”

Police spokeswoman Alyson Crean in December had depicted Eimers as having had “severe heart problems.”

Face down, in the sand

Asked if excessive force could have contributed to Eimers’ deathe, Horan would not give an answer Friday but referred to the fact the victim was held facedown by four officers during his Nov. 28 arrest.

“Number one, prone restraint it not a good thing,” said Horan. “Number two, you never ever do it in the sand.”

Eimers had been pulled over in New Town early Thanksgiving morning for reportedly switching lanes illegally. Yet, he took off in his silver P.T. Cruiser while the patrol officer was checking his license and registration.

Why he chose to flee is a mystery. The Michigan native had just retired and had landed in Key West where he planned to live, said Horan.

Eimers drove to the island’s edge, leading police on a slow-paced chase through Bahama Village, before stopping his car on the sand outside the Southernmost Beach Cafe.

In the traffic case police report on the incident, an officer wrote that the Michigan man appeared to be living in his P.T. Cruiser and was likely homeless.

“He’d worked for G.M. nearly all his life,” Horan said. “He had been here less than 24 hours. Reports of him being homeless are bull—-. He had his stuff in the car because he wanted to move to Key West.”

Horan said his firm has eyewitnesses, and two smartphone video recordings of the incident, to prove Eimers had given up and complied with police orders to surrender. Eimers, in one video posted online, puts his hands in the air as officers close in on South Beach, and then kneels down in the sand. Within moments, four police officers crowd his body, blocking the view of Eimers.

No toxicology reports

Due to the eight-day delay between Eimers’ death and autopsy, Horan said critical evidence has been lost. Toxicology reports aren’t coming because specimens from Eimers’ body weren’t preserved, Scheuerman’s report said.

“Specimens were retained, but none submitted due to the length of hospitalization and lack of admission specimens,” Scheuerman wrote.

Instead of being taken from the hospital to the medical examiner’s office in Marathon, Eimers’ body was transferred to a Simonton Street funeral home.

By Dec. 11, a doctor had signed Eimers’ death certificate, putting down “natural causes” as the determination, and no autopsy was performed.

Eimers spent six days in a bed at Lower Keys Medical Center on Stock Island.

A police detective “was advised that Eimers would expire in the near future and that he would not ever leave the hospital,” Key West Capt. Scott Smith wrote in a Dec. 12 disciplinary letter to an officer who failed to keep tabs on Eimers while he was a patient.

During the hospital stay, Horan said, Eimers would have been cleaned up.

“Everyone we’ve talked to said his mouth and nose were full of sand,” Horan said.

Schuerman has said his office wasn’t notified of the in-custody death until Dec. 11, seven days after Eimers died at Lower Keys Medical Center while hooked up to life support.

On Dec. 12, Key West Police Department brass reprimanded in writing the detective assigned to keep taps on Eimers and report to Chief Donie Lee.

Officer Todd Stevens, then a detective, was sent from the detectives bureau back to a patrol car and a uniform, and raked over the coals by Lee for failing to keep him informed about Eimers’ health.

Lee and other supervisors didn’t know that Eimers had died until Dec. 10 — six days after his death due to Stevens’ work.

“His actions or lack thereof were completely unacceptable and embarrassing to the department,” Lee said at the time of the disciplinary action.

In Key West, the job of detective is considered a lateral move from uniformed patrol — not a promotion or demotion.

Stevens was not one of the 11 KWPD officers at the scene the morning of Nov. 28 as Eimers was held facedown on South Beach, at the end of Duval Street, by four patrolmen. All four later said the suspect was resisting arrest.

Police reports said Eimers turned blue once he was planted facedown in the sand by officers.

“Officers immediately took the cuffs off and began CPR,” Capt. Scott Smith wrote in his disciplinary letter about Stevens. “Rescue transported Eimers to the hospital, where he was put on life support.”


Here’s the Key West the Newspaper article from yesterday’s edition, with reader comments. Perhaps living proof that life’s a bitch, then you die. The video is in the first KWTN article, I think there have been seven. Link to prior KWTN articles on Eimers’ death is at bottom of this article, before reader comments.

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 Florida 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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    gads how smelly can it get. there seems to be so many sweepings under the rug that this case is getting thicker by the week.
    who is this un-named doctor who first signed a death certificate for death by ‘natural causes’? where are the hospital xrays taken while eimers was on life support…surely they would show fractured ribs? so now the hospital exhibits culpability in this most unfortunate and avoidable death of a man innocent of any form whatsoever of resistance as previously proven without doubt… just look at the fricken smoking video and the cop pile-on. 10 FRACTURED RIBS?
    neurons showing o2 starvation? yes asphyxiation or do frogs need fall from the damn sky first?
    what the hell kind of disgusting thugs are in the employ of the police department. this is absolutely not acceptable and the police responsible must be prosecuted be it murder or man slaughter justice must be done in this case and the thug[s] responsible need be packed away behind bars where he/they belong including anyone who has taken part in this coverup. and make no mistake coverup it is/was.
    i’ve made my home here for the past 36 years and this is the first time i have become concerned over the public’s safety and not from any punk mugger or street thug but worse…from the key west police department itself.
    chief get off your ass and clean up your shop.
    city commission wake up and get real serious in your responsibilities of oversight and start demanding solid and truthfull answers.
    Fractured ribs are not uncommon in cases where CPR has been administered.
    First of all, if you fracture 10 ribs doing CPR, you should be prosecuted and sued in civil court. So that idiot should know what they are talking about before the show their insanity to the world.
    Secondly, the FBI should take over this case. There is no excuse for these officers not to be prosecuted. This is a cover up. Exactly who, name this person, authorized the destruction of evidence at the hospital.? The chief must resign in shame. The town fathers must now get VERY involved. These cops are our employees, our public servants. Key West would be a much different place if we were to loose the 3.5 million visitors that visit us each year. If our cops don’t stop beating people up and killing our tourists I suspect we won’t be that attractive any longer. God bless this poor man and his family. Jail the perpetrators and fire the Chief.
    Dr. Jon McLean
    Key West, Florida
      Consider the chain of perpetrators command. The KWPD is under orders from above to be as tough on homeless people as possible. Eimers was suspected by the cop who made the traffic stop on North Roosevelt of living in his van. The cop who stated that he elbowed Eimers in the back of the neck/head, according to a witness who heard it from the cop, as reported in the blue paper some time back, used anti-homeless rhetoric. You can thank your present and past mayors and city commissioners for what happened to Eimers, is what I’m getting around to saying here, for they are who set the city’s homeless policy. I know this for a fact, because I have been toe to toe with mayors and city commissioners for over a decade in this city about its treatment of homeless people, one of whom used to be me. I agree, the KWPD needs cleaning out, some KWPD personnel probably need to be in prison, but do not forget whose wishes they are fulfilling. This is not a joke. I am dead serious. The proof for me is not one peep of protest or expression of alarm or concern or apology to the Eimers family yet have I seen or heard from the city commissioners and mayor about what happened to Charles Eimers. Yes, I know they have been told by their lawyer (city attorney) to keep mum, I used to tell my law clients to keep mum. But I never represented a local government, which has a fiduciary duty to the public not to injure people without a really good reason. The karma from this case is awful, and it will have its say, and it may be that nobody involved connects the dots back to what this city did to Charles Eimers. As the blue paper likes to say, stay tuned.
  4. Has anyone checked at the hospital who was working that day or night that Eimers was admitted that were connected or related to some police officers. ? It might be interesting how hospital personnel were missled by someone working that shift at the hospital.
    Sure looks to me it was a miracle that Charles Eimers’ body was not cremated before the coroner got it. I wonder if that caused Chief Lee and his troops, and the city commissioners and mayor and lots of people down here, to consider maybe angels of the Lord might have had a hand in Eimers’ body not being cremated and somebody just happening to be at the seen (scene) of the death to take a video of the guns-drawn apprehension of a face-down in the sand soon to be dead suspected homeless man living in his vehicle? Maybe the Tourist Development Council and the Key West Chamber of Commerce should put out an all points bulletin on the World Wide Web advising tourists not to come down here in cars or trucks or vans which are not squeaky clean inside, no litter, else they might be profiled as being homeless. And, yeah, while they are at it, come down here packing, for no telling when they might have to stand their ground and shoot a Key West cop or two or three in self defense because they fear for their lives. My friends on the mainland, who have been following the Emiers case reporting in the blue paper and at, are in disbelief and outrage over how the KWPD and the city government have handled the aftermath of Charles Eimers demise.


JM wrote:

My lots on LTK were right next to Donna’s house and were three feet above sea level and had rogo points attached to them, but I guess somehow she got to build and I didn’t—it’s who you know I guess. She worked for some big Law firm in Key West and knew all the players—in any event thanks for the update on the Police Killing–maybe there will be Federal charges brought against them—sure looks like they murdered him and are doing their best to cover it up—thanks for the update–

Karen in Lakeland, Florida and I continued out discussion started in yesterday’s the Florida Keys and Key West – polluted is as polluted does post at

She wrote:

Hello Sloan,
I called the toll free # for FKOC and the gentlemen that spoke with me said that the only way to participate in their program was to be a resident of Key West for at least 2 weeks and that I could stay at KOTS for those 2 weeks.
And from what I’ve read about KOTS, I would get mugged, robbed, beaten up, raped, get TB and who knows what all other types of illnesses from staying there. And that’s if there is even room enough.
That they have enough homeless people of their own in Key West and really don’t want someone else from Lakeland coming there (para-phrased).
And I also called the toll free # for Samuel’s House and left my name and #, but have not received a call back.
From what I have read about the takes
anyone that wants to make a better life for themselves. Also here:
and here:
You stated “I don’t know where you got the impression that Key West is a good place to be homeless”.
Well, the FKOC and Samuel’s House are why I thought that I could get assistance.
I tell you what, I would be an excellent success story for them and they wouldn’t even have to put me through alcohol/drug re-hab.
Anyways, Thank You for your kind words and information that you have given to a complete stranger.


I wrote:

Hi again, Karen –

I didn’t know about the 2 week residency requirement for FKOC.

KOTS is an overnight shelter, they do not screen for alcohol and other narcotics, you don’t get the “creme of the crop” there. KOTS is run by a local non-profit for the city, and I am not surprised you were told not to come down here. They have to let you in, though, if you are at the gate when it opens and there is room. I learned of one man last year, who had stayed there several years. I know another man who stays there most nights.

The women have their own separate trailer/dorms, which probably are physically safe for sleeping, if you don’t factor in disease. I stayed at KOTS a couple of nights in early 2005, when FKOC managed it (reluctantly) for the city. I slept between two men wondering what I might catch from them? The male and female monitor talked pretty loudly all night, kept waking me up. I slept with my arms stuck through the straps of my day pack and soft shoulder suitcase, so anyone trying to get into to take them might wake me up.

FKOC does not put anyone through rehab, addicts must go have through that before they can get into FKOC. There are a couple of places down here which do rehab, de Poo in KW, the Guidance Clinic in Marathon. However, FKOC makes all program residents attend 12 Step meetings, regardless of previous drug history, or lack thereof. I don’t think Samuel’s House puts anyone through rehab, either, and I think they require their residents to be in a recovery program regardless of prior drug use, or not.

I imagine 90 percent of homeless people down here are addicts. You can get into KOTS drunk or high, but you are not supposed to take any drug in there unless it’s inside of you.

There is a domestic violence/battered women’s shelter down here, located near Samuel’s House and FKOC in the Poinciana project, near Duck Avenue. You might try contacting them. I know a woman they took in, who had a son. I don’t think she was battered or a victim of recent domestic violence when she went into that shelter maybe 2 years ago. She’s now on Key Largo with her son in some other kind of residence program.

I say again that you might like Miami better, but I know nothing about what’s available up there. I do know they created a lot of subsidized housing for homeless people, to get them inside and off the streets and out of the parks and off the beaches, but I think they ran out of funding for that. There is very little subsidized housing for homeless people down here, only a few units.

FKOC, Samuel’s House and the domestic violence shelter are KW’s subsidized housing for homeless people, if they can work and make money. I have known those programs to take in and keep on people who were not working, but there were extenuating circumstances.

What can you do? What are your job skills? What is your work history?


She sent a resume and asked that I not publish it. Her job skills look like they are in the minimum wage range for Key West.

Mary Poppins

On that positive note, I bid you adieu for today, but stay tuned …

Sloan Bashinsky



About Sloan

That's what this website is about, also and If you can't get a publisher to take on your wacky musing, you do it yourself.
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