Miami Beach Police Tase Teenage Graffiti Artist to Death

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A celebrated 18-year-old graffiti artist died Tuesday after Miami police shot a taser into his chest, the Miami Herald reports. Israel Hernandez-Llach was something of a prodigy on the Miami art scene, who had won acclaim for his art and recently launched his own line of specially designed skateboards. By night, he was a graffiti artist known as “Reefa.”

Early Tuesday morning, police found Hernandez-Llach spray-painting an abandoned McDonald’s building and chased him down. The police report claims the teen ran through alleyways and jumped a fence before police finally caught him and shot a taser into his chest. Hernandez-Llach collapsed immediately and was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Israel Hernandez-Llach, CREDIT: Miami Herald

Israel Hernandez-Llach, CREDIT: Miami Herald

According to his best friend’s mother, Hernandez-Llach “had been warned before by police that if they caught him again they would beat the shit out of him.”

The Miami Police Department has undergone federal investigation for its misconduct twice in the past 7 years. The latest Department of Justice investigation found that officers routinely used excessive force when confronting suspects, leading to avoidable deaths.

Street artists generally see tangling with police as just another part of their work, but these encounters often turn disproportionately abusive. Prominent graffiti artist Shepard Fairey has openly discussed how police frequently beat him up, threw him in jail and denied him the insulin pump he needs as a diabetic. After two days in a New York jail without his insulin, he started vomiting uncontrollably and nearly died. Most famously, black graffiti artist Michael Jerome Stewart was beaten and kicked to death by NYPD officers after spray painting a subway wall.

The city of Miami and the state attorney’s office are investigating Hernandez-Llach’s death. His family will also likely launch an independent investigation.


Update: Hernandez-Llach was tased by Miami Beach police, not the city of Miami police department, which was investigated by the DOJ.

  • Obviously this was not written by a local and unlike “Miami Vice” that did location shots all over Miami-Dade County, Miami Beach is on city and Miami is another. Miami pigs are being investigated by the Justice Dept. Miami Beach pigs (in a separate stye) are currently not but should, considering the known abuses they have done on citizens and still remain on the force. Apparently the FOP keeps bad cops on the job even when proven abusive – like those pigs who beat up a witness and arrested him while he was on his fone with 911. They shoulda been in jail but I don’t think that happened. Anyhow, I think this pig that did the taser has a history of lying, padding his time sheet, abusing citizens and still he wears the uniform.

  • BROse

    off with there heads!