Thursday, August 08, 2013

Miami Beach Police Department facing criticism over death of teen 'graffiti artist'

The Miami Beach Police Department is, once again, facing criticism over the actions of some its officers following the death of an 18 year-old "graffiti artist" who was tasered by cops following a foot chase early Tuesday morning.

From the Miami Herald:
At just 17, Israel Hernandez-Llach was already an award-winning artist, on the threshold of acclaim in Miami Beach art circles. He was a sculptor, painter, writer and photographer whose craft was inspired by his home country of Colombia and his adopted city, Miami.

He was also a graffiti artist, known as “Reefa,” who sprayed colorful splashes of paint on the city’s abandoned buildings while playing cat-and-mouse with cops, who, like many, consider graffiti taggers to be vandals, not artists.

It was while spray-painting a shuttered McDonald’s early Tuesday morning that Hernandez-Llach was chased down by Miami Beach police and shot in the chest with a Taser. He later died.
Meanwhile, in what may be the first public reaction to Hernandez's death from an elected Miami Beach official, this morning Commissioner Jonah Wolfson left this comment on Facebook:
"Following an investigation, if this proves to be a case of excessive force, we need prosecutions and firings. Not just the folks involved. We need to make sure we are not replete with fools who hurt people without cause."



New York Times, April 30, 2012: Tasers Pose Risks to Heart, a Study Warns



  1. You can download data from a Taser with a kit. These kits are used to protect officers in cases like this.

    1. Protect them from what? A spray can?

  2. In recent years many Miami Beach cops have proven they are nothing but a bunch of thugs. In case anyone forgot, they riddled a car with bullets and killed a drunk Palm Beach man a few years ago during urban weekend. Reports later concluded that the man had no trace of gun powder on his hands, therefore could not have fired a weapon, as MBPD has initially claimed.

    One of two "officers" who partied at the Van Dyke with some tourists, took a woman on a joy ride on a MBPD ATV and critically injured two people on the sand.

    MBPD also shot a tourist who was walking on Ocean Dive with his brother because they "mistook him" for an armed assailant.

    That's just three incidents in recent years. These degenerates do not deserve to have authority to issue jay walking tickets, let alone possess a badge and carry a weapon.


    The Miami Beach Fraternal Order of Police William Nichols Lodge # 8, on behalf of its 615 current and retired members, would like to extend their deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Israel Hernandez-Llach. This unfortunate incident affects the family and our community, as well as the lives of the Police Officers involved.
    Our Officers are duty-bound to enforce all laws in an effort to maintain the quality of life for residents and businesses in the City of Miami Beach. The FOP is confident the Police Officers involved in this incident acted appropriately and within the guidelines of the law and departmental standard operating procedures.
    Many times, the law enforcement community employs the use of less than lethal devices in order to minimize the risk of injuries to both the subject and the officers. To date, in excess of 100,000 people have been saved from serious injury through the use of Taser brand Conducted Electrical Weapons.
    Unfortunately, all of the facts surrounding this incident are still under investigation. To protect the integrity of this process and adhere to state law and agency policies, our involved officers are, at this time, unable to defend themselves in the court of public opinion. We have the utmost confidence in the investigative process, which involves multiple independent agencies, including the Miami-Dade Medical Examiner Department and State Attorney’s Office. We ask the public to refrain from passing judgment until all the facts are known.

  4. The facts about MBPD are known. Check their track record.


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