Teen Graffiti Artist Dies After Police Tasing
Death of Miami Beach 17-year-old under investigation
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Aug 8, 2013 9:14 AM CDT
A frame grab off YouTube of Israel Hernandez-Llach.   (YouTube)

(Newser) – A Miami Beach teenager is dead after getting tased by police who spotted him tagging a vacant McDonald's with graffiti. The case is getting more attention than usual because 17-year-old Israel Hernandez-Llach had the reputation of a budding artist. He was "on the threshold of acclaim in Miami Beach art circles," reports the Miami Herald, which labels the Colombian native a sculptor, painter, writer, and photographer.

Israel's death, however, came via his colorful graffiti, which he spray-painted under the name Reefa. Police say he ran when spotted by officers, then ran toward the officers when confronted. He was tased once in the chest and immediately went into distress. “The officers were forced to use the Taser to avoid a physical incident," says the police chief. Autopsy results are pending, and the death is under investigation by the city and state. “He wanted to change the world somehow through art,” says his sister. “We want answers.”

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Aug 9, 2013 2:20 PM CDT
Aug 9, 2013 4:27 AM CDT
Probably tazed by some affirmative action schlubb who couldn't handle real training.
Aug 9, 2013 2:12 AM CDT
Tasing is supposed to be non-lethal, according to the manufactures, but many have died after being tased, and the manufactures then claim the victim was on some kind of drugs, so as to blame the drugs and avoid financial responsibility. Lets see it that is the claim this time. And, sometimes when one is cornered, one runs toward the officers is an attempt to run through them to get past them. Cops can easily interpret this as threatening, but at least, unlike the cops in my hometown, Vallejo, they did not shoot him.