Key West police officers used a "reasonable amount of force" in apprehending and restraining Charles Eimers, the Michigan man who died six days after being held facedown on South Beach, a grand jury decided today.
While officers acted in an "unprofessional" and rude manner following the incident, the grand jury stated in a 10-page report released by the State Attorney's Office this afternoon, no criminal charges are warranted.
Eimers, 61, fled a traffic stop early Thanksgiving morning after telling an officer he was "working for the god almighty," police reported, and the grand jury quoted in its report.
Eimers was held facedown on the beach while restrained by at least four officers. Six days later, Eimers remained on life support at Lower Keys Medical Center, where his family asked staff to remove him from the machines.
Eimers' family is suing the city in federal court for wrongful death.
"We find that the KWPD officers on scene during the incident exercised the proper amount of force to apprehend and restrain Mr. Eimers," the grand jury stated.
"Even though we find that the amount of force used was reasonable, we recommend that the KWPD (Key West Police Department) conduct an all-inclusive investigation into this incident. We recommend that this investigation include a comprehensive review of the policies, protocol, and procedures employed for situations involving in-custody deaths and in custody 'near deaths.'"
During the grand jury testimony, former county medical examiner Dr. E. Hunt Scheuerman told the jurors that Eimers was in such poor health that "he could have died at any time, even in his sleep."
Scheuerman ruled Eimers' death an accident due to a weak heart but found that the police struggle was a contributing factor.