Israel Hernández-Lach. Photo: Facebook
Amid criticism and protests against the Miami Police Department, the family of Israel Hernández has filed a lawsuit against the city and against Police Chief Raymond Martínez after police units fired a taser at the young Colombian and was later pronounced dead at the hospital.
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According to information published in the Miami Diario website, lawyers of Israel Hernández-Lach's family, Todd R. McPharlin and José Javier Rodríguez, pointed out that the city of Miami does not protect citizens from excessive use of force from the Police Department, institution who has been involved with such abuses before.
In a press conference this past Tuesday in Downtown Miami, advocate José Javier Rodríguez said, "This young artist died at the hands of Miami Beach police, after excessive force was used. The agents abused the deceased aggressively and used unnecessary, excessive and unconstitutional force."
The night of Tuesday, August 6, Israel Hernández, 18-years-old and a renown local artist, painted graffiti on the wall of an abandoned fast food establishment on Collins Avenue and 71st Street when he was spotted by two police officers. After being discovered, the young man fled but was caught by the officers a couple of blocks ahead, according to website Policymic.
The officer identified as Jorge Mercado cornered the young man against a wall and shot a Taser at his chest, causing the young man to collapse. Hernández was transported to a hospital where, hours later, he was declared dead.
According to the plaintiffs, the officers incurred in excesses and unnecessary force by surrounding Israel Hernández, "a teenager of slim constitution that wasn't carrying any weapons nor he wasn't suspected of carrying one", which gave the officers no reasonable basis to use the Taser, according to El Nuevo Herald.
Officer Mercado was suspended for three days with pay, which has unleashed criticism against the local Police Department.