MIAMI BEACH (CBSMiami) — Four months after Israel “Reefa” Hernandez’s died after being shocked by a police Taser, family and friends gathered for a vigil Monday on what would have been his 19th birthday.
The vigil took place at the vacant McDonald’s located at 71st and Collins. It is where Hernandez was last seen allegedly tagging his name on the building’s wall. The vigil is meant to be a solemn memorial to the late artist.
Miami Beach Police said they pursued Hernandez early on the morning of August 6th after he illegally sprayed graffiti on a now-closed McDonald’s restaurant.
According to police, Officer Jorge Mercado was forced to use the Taser after Hernandez disobeyed three orders to stop and ran at police. Police said the crime suppression team had been looking for him after some other buildings were sprayed with graffiti last year.
Hernandez was taken to Mt. Sinai Hospital after the incident where he was pronounced dead.
Hernandez’s family filed a lawsuit against Miami Beach Police and its Police Chief Raymond Martinez in late August.