Miami Beach Graffiti Artist Dies After Being Struck by Police Taser


Israel Hernandez-Llach, 17, an award-winning artist, was also a graffiti artist known as “Reefa” who sprayed colorful splashes of paint on Miami’s abandoned buildings while playing cat-and-mouse with cops, who consider graffiti taggers to be vandals, says the Miami Herald. While spray-painting a shuttered McDonald's early Tuesday, Hernandez-Llach was chased by Miami Beach police and shot in the chest with a Taser. He later died.

Miami Beach Police Chief Ray Martinez said Hernandez-Llach was confronted by officers at 5 a.m. as he was vandalizing private property, and he fled, leading officers on a foot chase. “The officers were forced to use the Taser to avoid a physical incident,'' the chief said. He was hit once in the chest and collapsed. Tasers are considered a nonlethal weapon, and police say their use has greatly reduced the number of fatalities in confrontations between police and violent subjects. Deaths after a Tasering are uncommon — but they do happen. Often an autopsy will discover that the Tasered person had a pre-existing medical condition or drugs in their system.

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