Street art collides with alleged police brutality in Miami

Israel ‘Reefa’ Hernandez was a promising 18-year old graffiti artist and skater from Florida who was chased by police after being caught tagging an abandoned building in Miami Beach. He was cornered, then tasered and died an hour later in hospital. The incident, that took place last August 2013, has sparked protests and outrage from those that knew him and beyond.

According to Reuters, witnesses to the incident said that the police officers high-fived and laughed as he lay on the ground. A medical examination that stated that ‘Reefa’ died from “cardiac arrest caused by electrical discharge from a device”, and a judge later controversially ruled the death as an accident. Yesterday, protestors demanded the arrest of Jorge Mercado, the officer who delivered the fatal shot, marching into the state attorney’s office yesterday chanting “no peace, no justice”.

“The state attorney’s office is trying to get people to accept that this was an accident,” says Jorge Estomba, an activist and adviser to the Hernandez family. “It was not an accident.”


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