Society

Autopsy Shows Florida Man Who Died After Arrest Had 10 Broken Ribs

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

A Florida retiree who died after being arrested during a Key West traffic stop had sustained 10 broken ribs, according to an autopsy report.

Charles Eimers, 61, was a retired autoworker from Michigan. He died in police custody on Nov. 28 after he was arrested outside a Pizza Hut for reckless driving.

After a series of conflicting reports by law enforcement, hospital officials and paramedics, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement is reportedly investigating the incident.

A police report from 13 officers says that Eimers was pulled over and then fled the scene. Paramedics said police told them that Eimers ran from his car and then suddenly collapsed unconscious. Hospital records obtained by CBS News say the retiree “was found without a pulse by police” and later passed away due to lack of oxygen to the brain.

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But a bystander shot a cell phone video of Eimers’ arrest which shows him surrendering to police, who have their guns drawn.

“He was murdered by those officers,” his son Treavor Eimers told CBS This Morning on Wednesday.

"I watched the video, and I had no words. Everything that I was told while I was here was a lie,” he added.

His son ordered his father be taken off a respirator on Dec. 4 and was told that a medical examiner would evaluate the body under a state law requiring an autopsy of any individual who dies in police custody. Instead, police sent Eimers’ remains straight to the funeral home, where he narrowly avoided being cremated.

An autopsy by the Monroe County Medical Examiner E. Hunt Scheuerman found Eimers had 10 broken ribs and bruises on his wrists from handcuffs.

Scheuerman offered no opinion on cause of death at this time.

“I believe that my father was asphyxiated on the beach in Key West by the officers involved that day,” Treavor Eimers said.

A physician told the Key West Blue Paper that Eimers’ remains were refrigerated for so long much of the evidence that would have shown tissue damage associated with asphyxiation would be gone.

“The problem is, this autopsy was performed too long after the incident,” the unidentified physician said. “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.”

Furthermore, blood and tissue samples taken when Eimers was admitted to the hospital have been destroyed. Therefore, the medical examiner cannot perform more specific tests.

Sources: Miami Herald, CBS News, Key West Blue Paper