Cop Who Tasered Israel Hernandez Was Once Accused of Tasering, Beating Iraq War Veteran
The files show that Mercado arrested an old woman last year as she tried to navigate Memorial Day weekend traffic. In 2007, he punched a guy during a concert. Worst of all, he and fellow cops were accused of Tasering and beating an Iraq War veteran in 2008.
The only accusation that was sustained, however, was a 2008 investigation into overtime abuse among Miami Beach police officers.
Mercado has six IA cases: four were sent to New Times. Of the other two, one stems from him Tasering Hernandez and is currently open. The other involves a mysterious, substantiated violation of departmental drug testing procedures.
A MBPD spokesman said that the drug case was closed but could not be released because of HIPAA law governing personal medical information.
Of the four available IA files, the most disturbing is a 2008 case in which Mercado and several other cops were accused of needlessly Tasering and beating an Iraq War veteran and his friend.
According to a letter they sent to their congressman, New Jersey natives Luis Maldonado and Randy Vega were in South Beach to celebrate Vega's safe return from Iraq. The military buddies went to Mango's on Ocean Drive for some drinks. The bar was crowded, however, and they decided to leave.
MIA Skate Shop via instagram The cop who fatally Tasered Israel Hernandez has a history of needlessly wielding the weapon
But on the way out, Vega accidentally bumped into a bar worker. She told bouncers to grab the friends before they left, and the bouncers followed them to their hotel nearby.
"Our pursuers continued to forcefully bang on the door, demanding that we 'Open the f-cking door," Maldonado wrote. Instead, Vega dialed 911.
Minutes later, Mercado and three other Miami Beach cops burst into the room after using a hotel master key.
"Upon entry and without a word, I was hit in the face by the police officers," Maldonado wrote. While two cops allegedly beat him, the other two Tasered Vega, then beat him on his neck and back.
But it was Vega and Maldonado who were arrested on counts of battery on a law enforcement officer and resisting arrest. All those charges were eventually dropped.
The two military members wrote their congressman, New Jersey representative Jose Serrano, to complain. But the investigation ended when they dropped their complaints.