Israel Hernandez-Llach was an acclaimed graffiti artist and an avid skateboarder who, according to his sister, “wanted to change the world somehow through art.”

The reason why the word was is used to describe the 18-year-old is because Hernandez is now dead, following a confrontation with Miami Beach police.

Cop skater

When cops spotted the artist tagging a defunct McDonald’s early in the morning, “more than half a dozen” officers gave chase: “During the foot pursuit, the subject encountered officers face to face…and ignored officers’ commands to stop,” MBPD Chief Raymond Martinez explained in a public statement on the killing. “In order to affect his arrest, an officer deployed his conducted electrical weapon.” Or, put another way: he shot the kid point blank in the chest with a Taser. After being electro-shocked, Hernandez began to show “signs of medical distress,” Chief Martinez continued. Emergency responders arrived and rushed the teen to Mount Sinai Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

“The City of Miami Beach would like to extend their condolences to the family of Israel Hernandez,” Chief Martinez concluded.

Two of Hernandez’s friends, who were acting as lookouts for him as he spray painted the abandoned building, claim they witnessed the whole encounter with police, and that officers “shoved Hernandez against a wall, then high-fived” each other as the teen lay motionless after being Tasered. “He was on the ground and the cops were making jokes,” 19-year-old Thiago Souza told The Miami Herald.

Best friend, Rafael Lynch, who used to hang out at local skateboarding shops with his pal, talked of Hernandez’s “passion for skating and art…. He taught me a lot. I still have his hat and his board. They still smell like him. It’s crazy.”

Hernandez “had recently launched his own line of skateboards, and had also shown his work in local galleries,” reports the Herald.

According to Amnesty International, between 2001 and 2008, 351 people in the United States died after being shocked by police Tasers. The blog Electric Village has documented another 191 Taser-related deaths in America from 2009-2013. That means the total of documented Taser-related deaths in the US are a shocking  542 in 12 years!


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