MIAMI BEACH (CBS4) – Using pressure washers, scrapers and paint, a clean up crew spent Wednesday morning getting rid of graffiti on a vacant Miami Beach business.
The graffiti on the side of the business at 71st Street and Collins Avenue made headlines after last week’s death of 18-year old Israel Hernandez.
The aspiring artist was ‘tagging’ the side of the building when he was confronted by police. After a short chase, an officer used a stun gun on the teen. After officers took Hernandez into custody he started to show symptoms of medical distress. Miami Beach Fire Rescue took the teen to Mount Sinai Hospital where he was pronounced dead. His cause of death has not been determined.
The property manager of the building told CBS4 he understood that cleaning off the graffiti was a very sensitive matter but it had to be done.
For days after Hernandez’s death, family and friends gathered at the building to spray messages on the walls in his memory. Wednesday they were painted over or washed away. Business owners and people who live in the area had mixed feelings about the clean up.
“I think it’s good, clean the building, but at the same time I think it is sad a guy so young died,” said area business owner Frank Rodriguez.
“There is no upside to this but life has to get back to normal,” said G. P. Walsh. “It is a tragedy any way you look at it, everyone’s life is affected forever.”
Miami Beach officials said next week clean up crews will tackle the graffiti on the public areas near the building.