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.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:
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.
"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