Family, Friends Mark One Year Anniversary Of Teen’s Taser Death
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MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP) — Friends and family of a teen who died after a Miami Beach police officer shocked him with a Taser will mark the one year anniversary of his death with music, poetry and a film.
The four officers involved in the incident have since returned to work.
Wednesday evening they gather at the abandoned restaurant where police say they caught the 18-year-old Israel “Reefa” Hernandez spraying graffiti on the walls. The group will then move to the North Beach band shell where a documentary on Hernandez’s case will be shown. Musicians and other artists will also perform.
Police say Hernandez ran after they spotted him doing graffiti on an empty McDonald’s. Hernandez ignored their orders to stop, police said, and was shocked once with the Taser in the chest. He later died at a hospital.
Jorge Mercado, the officer who used the Taser to shock Hernandez, was placed on administrative leave after the incident. He is back on duty with the Miami Beach Police Department, however.
Three other officers involved, according to a spokeswoman with the police department, are on duty.
In March, the medical examiner confirmed the Taser was the cause of Hernandez’s death. They said the shock caused him to have a heart attack.
Family and friends were holding up signs Wednesday asking for justice.
“Israel did not deserve to die for something so small like that,” Lourdes Cordoba, a friend of Hernandez said. “That was petty.”
Hernandez’s relatives want police and State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle to discipline the officers involved.
“The State Attorney’s Office investigation of the circumstances surrounding the tragic death of Israel Hernandez is ongoing. As required by the rules of the Florida Bar, we have been in communication with the lawyer representing the Hernandez family, informing him of the tests left to be performed. As in the case of every in-custody death investigation, it is important to arrive at a conclusion based on a complete analysis of all the events, the totality of the evidence and the law,” according to Ed Griffith with the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office.