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Florida Keys News
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
'CBS This Morning' reports on Eimers' death
Police chief interviewed

A national television news network is set to air a story this morning on Charles Eimers, 61, who died in a hospital Dec. 4, six days after Key West police officers held him facedown in the sand during an arrest.

CBS This Morning airs from 7 to 9 a.m. A Miami-based producer did not return a telephone call by presstime requesting a comment or time of airing.

Key West Police Chief Donie Lee was interviewed about Eimers' death, which is under review by the state, marking the first time national television has reported on the case, said city spokeswoman Alyson Crean.

A news crew was in Key West the week of April 28.

The Eimers family sued the city in federal court April 11 for wrongful death, accusing 13 police officers of killing the man who was originally stopped on Thanksgiving morning over an illegal lane change on North Roosevelt Boulevard.

Before the officer had concluded the traffic stop, Eimers reportedly drove off in his P.T. Cruiser, leading police on a slow-speed chase through Old Town that ended on the beach where Duval Street ends.

A bystander's smart phone video shows Eimers raising his hands in the air and dropping to his knees as police officers close in on him at the beach.

But during the handcuffing of Eimers, who was facedown on the ground, he turned blue. Officers immediately turned him over and began life-saving measures, police reports state.

Paramedics said Eimers had no pulse when they reached the scene, but Lower Keys Medical Center staff revived him in the emergency room.

Eimers remained on a ventilator until he died Dec. 4.

The Florida Law Enforcement Department is investigating the in-custody death, which has kept the medical examiner's final autopsy report -- and opinion on cause of death -- sealed.

Treavor Eimers of Michigan is Eimers' oldest son and the lead plaintiff in the family's lawsuit, filed by Key West attorney David Paul Horan.

The family's suit names 13 Key West police officers, who the city's attorneys claimed in court papers last week did not violate Eimers' constitutional rights.

Even if they did, the motion to dismiss states, police officers are entitled to "qualified immunity," a legal protection meant to prevent police from harassment or threats of lawsuits for simply doing their jobs.

gfilosa@keysnews.com

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