Here Is the Graffito That Got Israel Hernandez Killed

Categories: News

ReefaGraffito.jpg
Michael E. Miller
Here's the tiny graffito that got Israel Hernandez -- aka Reefa -- killed
Yesterday, Riptide broke the story of 18-year-old skateboarder Israel Hernandez getting fatally Tasered by Miami Beach cops for tagging an abandoned building.

Afterward, our article was flooded with more than 500 comments. Many expressed sadness. Others, outrage. But some labeled Hernandez a "vandal" who "got what he deserved."

So we went to see the precise extent of Hernandez's vandalism. Here it is, all three inches of it.

See also: Teenager Israel Hernandez Dies After Miami Beach Cops Catch Him Tagging, Taser Him

Hernandez, known as "Reefa," never got very far into tagging his name on an abandoned McDonald's on Collins Avenue before cops began chasing him. The "R" matches some of his tags found around town.

ReefaGraffito.jpg
Michael E. Miller
Here are a few comments from New Times readers who think Hernandez "got what he deserved":

ReefaReaction1.jpg
ReefaReaction2.jpg
And here are some photos of the run-down McDonald's architectural gem that he was caught tagging on Tuesday morning.

ReefaBuilding.jpg
Michael E. Miller

ReefaWindow.jpg
Michael E. Miller

ReefaGold.jpg
Michael E. Miller
But lest you get depressed thinking that cops would chase a teenager to his death over scribbling something so small on a public eyesore already plastered with posters and campaign advertisements, here is something else to focus on: the love of his friends.

ReefaRIP.jpg
Michael E. Miller
Follow Miami New Times on Facebook and Twitter @MiamiNewTimes.

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185 comments
justinamazing2010
justinamazing2010

Spray painting buildings is a crime but he did not deserve to be fucking killed over it, he certainly did not deserve to be tasered for running the officers could have just ran after him and arrested him but no they wanted to show force on this unarmed person and show him who is boss and trust me the cops aren't you're boss, the officer who tased the teenager used a taser that was 50,000 volts 2 times for powerful your regular police issue teasers, but what gets me is after the teen died every police officer involved high fived each other afterwards you don't high five each  after you kill a perp let alone a teen it makes you look unprofessional and it makes you look like Nazi cops, the cops nowadays aren't protecting the population or civilians they're out there killing non dangerous people, while the dangerous ones are out there raping, killing, sexual assaulting women, and children, why not go after them not non dangerous people 

laurajenny033
laurajenny033

IT IS EASY TO JUDGE THE MISTAKES OF OTHERS...  ANYONE THAT HAS NEVER MADE A MISTAKE AS A TEENAGER PLEASE STAND UP!

This is horrible and the comments about this kid is disgusting.  We all make mistakes.  Teenage boys especially.  That is how we grow and learn.  It is up to the adults (the police) to make the better judgement to guide and to help our younger generation grow.  The judgement of this adult cost this child his life.  Israel will never be able to learn and grow from his mistakes. 

Rest in Peace Israel.  You are in a better place now.

dabbydoo
dabbydoo

I read some comments. Didn't take much time because they're not worth reading. I do not care if he were an immigrant, unless you're NATIVE AMERICAN, we're all immigrants. I do not care if he wad 19 or 90. I don't care if he were smoking pot, which Nellie's you, doesn't cause violence. It doesn't matter if he was drunk or under any influence or just being carefree. The law has no right to be judge and jury. Keep those teasers in your pocket unless you feel threated, really threatened, and not by mere words. A boy running for fear of retribution, which evidently was justified considering his death sentence, with a can of paint..... really boys and girls, keep it in perspective. This us kid shut. Chase down real criminals, unless that's too risky for ya. Bam, 19 year old dead for painting. Well, that'll meet one quota for ya. Dumb asses. Sorry, one dumb ass move deserves one dumb ass remark. Trigger happy, power hungry.

ancientwarrior67777
ancientwarrior67777

MDPD are mostly illegals hired by the drug cartels  this is why most violent criminals are ignored..

reefa
reefa

Society is upside down. No one owns the earth..let alone an abandoned piece of urban scorched earth. God bless artists including the vandal for awakening this truth, and for awakening the brainwashed mind  of the public with the beauty and lessons of art. Not all art is to the taste of all but if the intention is there it can be appreciated yet--I suggest those hateful people who have been able to disdain this art learn to appreciate it because the art will not end. Israel will not be an "example"...he will be a martyr and the art will only grow

mdlily
mdlily

I can totally see why he was regarded as such a great "artist". Not just any law breaking, property destroying immigrant can make an "R" that awesome. Don't people understand the need for "Reefa" to be painting that crap all over the place instead of say, drawing on an actual canvas.

mikeknowles
mikeknowles

Hot Tip: don't wanna die during the commission of a crime? Than don't break the law. Real simple .

diego
diego

Respect people, people's property and authority is necessary to live in this world. Damage done by these so called 'artists' does not come in cheap , so people who have never had to pay out of their own pockets for this type of damage should not be writing an opinion on this matter. This was a pot head looking for trouble and found it and instead of facing the consequences decided to run. An 18 year old is no longer a child, you are old enough to know better and if you make bad choices you ought to be ready to face the consequences of your actions. Too bad it ended the way it did, but if a parent considers an 18 year old a child then you should know what your child is doing and where is he at 5:00 in the morning.


mikeknowles
mikeknowles

what kind of world do we live in where criminal vandals are held in high regard as "artists" and police who are doing their jobs are criticized?

fra2daska18
fra2daska18

A Taser can contribute to potentially fatal health risks. Yes. he broke the law by tagging and yes he ran, but that does not mean that the police were exercising prudent judgement. Tazing even a GORILLA ONCE can incapacitate them to the point of docility/unconsciousness. if this kid was tazed more than once , that means that either the police used poor judgement OR they have no idea how a Tazer works. BOTH are unsatisfactory explanations. The issue here is not what the teen was doing, but how the officers reacted and what that means for the rest of our citizens. Remember that the motto is TO PROTECT AND SERVE. They were not protecting or serving anyone by tazering a child to death. They were being reckless and impudent. Please don't try to tell me that this kid was a risk and there was no other way to subdue him because then that means that our police force is so poorly trained and unskilled they depend on tazers to do their jobs.

mikeknowles
mikeknowles

so this is how an immigrant from Colombia rewards his HOST country? he commits vandalism? this is not an immigrant or a future citizen i want in my country. He got what he deserved and can only blame himself. If you dont wanna risk death, dont commit crime!

AnaCampos
AnaCampos

4 murders. 

40 rapes

370 robberies

473 aggravated assault

1,171 burglary

7,838 larceny

These are the crime statistics in Miami Beach. Crime increased by 13 percent in 2010 and that means more robberies and aggravated assaults (FDLE annual crime report). So while rapes and burglary and robberies are rising, their police officers choose to invest their energy into misdemeanor and bullshit nonsense like tasing an 18 year old child for writing the word R on a wall. It speaks volumes as to how dysfunctional the MBPD leadership must be and how distorted their misguided their officer training is. 

Thank you Michael Miller for breaking this story and putting a personal and kind touch on it and realistic perspective. 

The Miami Beach Police Department, once again, acted inappropriately, used excessive force and overreacted resulting in yet another senseless death.  There's no doubt they will be sued but I'm sure that is no consolation for this poor family. Shame on the Miami Beach Police Department. Child killers.

mikeknowles
mikeknowles

Break the law pay the price. Burn in hell you piece of trash. World can do without graffiti "artists"

cake420
cake420

It is no secret that the police force in the United States is corrupt. Sounds to me like this police officer was having a slow day and got a little taser happy. In order to kill someone with one of those things you would definitely have to over use it!..A cop letting authority go to his head, never. So, for all the morons who believe this KID deserved to die for spray painting an R on an ABANDONED building should really take a step back and put themselves in his shoes. We have all been teens and we have all done stupid things and I am sure most of you ass holes have done worse than spray paint an R on a damn abandoned building, anyway! USE YOUR BRAIN. 


iceman4ever80
iceman4ever80

Im even scared of cops they can kill you for anything omg!! Writing on walls!!!...crazy!!...that wasnt a big crime..poor kid he didnt deserve to die like that... my heart goes out to his family i have children i understand its not wright..rip ):

prettykeita
prettykeita

Israel I've known since elementary school but got to know him during high school art class he was a pain in my ass at times but he was cool just being himself  great  artist yes he did commit a small crime but NO he did not deserve to die these comments are pissin  me off 

....
....

I HIGHLY doubt he charged at them; They just wrote it up that way to make it justifiable in the A-form. Sad sad sad.

vg1985
vg1985

If this is really "justice" then the officers involved should be proud enough to share their personal information with the public. Miami cops are given a pass to rape and pillage whenever they want. If you really think this sort of thing doesn't happen all the time, then you've never spoken to one. I've seen cops coked out of their minds in bathrooms slap kids for no reason, purely because they can. 

yzalbooster
yzalbooster

RIP Israel Hernandez  a dear friend that will be missed

Exiliado
Exiliado topcommenter

I think most of you here are getting this wrong.

That young man did NOT deserve to die, and I doubt the police officers intended to kill him.

They tasered him to make him STOP running. Tasers are not considered deadly force. Police use them all the time, and it rarely causes death.

This was a sad and tragic accident, but it could have been avoided if Israel had stayed and faced the fine or whatever punishment legally applicable. After all, what he did can hardly be called ART.

And ALL of you should be right now having the conversation with your children to make sure they never get tasered for running from the police.

mred5111
mred5111

@reefa   SO GO AHEAD AND START SPRAY PAINTING YOUR OWN HOMES, YOU HAVE MY BLESSING

no2ndtroy
no2ndtroy

@mikeknowles <-- This guy is a troll who is just trying to make people angry.  He honestly has nothing better to do with his time - which is sad.  Acting like a child isn't a talent.  

reefa
reefa

@diego you dont know what you are talking about. but that's ok it is your own misery to suffer

reefa
reefa

@mikeknowles a world where cops are greedy murderers with less discretion than a contracted assassin. a world where the public has been brainwashed. remember: paint harms no one. remember: you can "claim" and "protect" an abandoned storefront but you will never own the earth or any part of it. you will never stop artists. so just whine about it.

mikeknowlesisanass
mikeknowlesisanass

@mikeknowles What kind of world do we live in where killing is regarded as a job and it's okay to have so little respect for the dead?

sofro83
sofro83

no person should be killed for writing on a wall. we are in a world where borders are crossed in many ways, time to share the land you ancestors killed for.

sofro83
sofro83

one day your words will make you realize how hard you have been... maybe you see the light brother.

AnaCampos
AnaCampos

@mikeknowles I don't know what happened to you in your childhood but it must have been awful. I hope you find some healing and release all that sick repressed anger you are carrying around. So misdirected and miserable. Shame on you. 

mikeknowles
mikeknowles

So just because a building is abandoned it is acceptable that it can be vandalized? Sorry. I believe in consistency. No building should be vandalized. And if a vandal dies committing a crime, than it must be Gods plan

ianlutz561
ianlutz561

@.... I've lived in Miami and you are right, the cops will alter the story in their favor 90% of the time.


orleans
orleans

@vg1985 I have seen them harassing people on the beach at night, threatening with arrest for loitering. go figure. as if there were not really serious issues to go after. like the tow truck thieves, for instance.

themannytee
themannytee

@Exiliado According to the report, the cops could've easily tackled him, as he RAN TOWARDS THEM WHEN THEY CORNERED HIM

vg1985
vg1985

@Exiliado Seriously, fuck off. There's no need to tase a kid for writing a letter on a wall. Vandalism is not a fucking felony. It's so sad how many of you assholes have been brainwashed into believing that the police have your best interests. It wasn't an accident, get that through your head. Fuckface stormtrooper Miami cops thrive on epople like you absolving them of guilt.

mikeknowles
mikeknowles

Crime sucks. If he wouldn't have committed a crime he wouldn't have been tased a d he wouldn't be dead

mikeknowles
mikeknowles

Actually no. Reefa had no right to desecrate a defenseless building. He knew that he was sinning. It's not like he died committing a charitable act

mikeknowles
mikeknowles

@AnaCampos @mikeknowles Nothing happened. I am just a law abiding citizen who is offended by vandalism. This punk had no social redeeming value. He was a criminal, and died during a criminal act. Police are doing their jobs by fighting vandalism. Also this punk was 18 and old enough to know better. Thank god hes in a body bag and cannot deface anymore property.

justinamazing2010
justinamazing2010

@mikeknowles  I bet you're a republican the kind that doesn't care about people lower than you just higher than you, you saying it's gods plan makes you sound like a devil worshipping, illuminati, child rapist republican

mikeknowlesisanass
mikeknowlesisanass

@mikeknowles God's plan is fucked up when a kid is killed for writing on a wall and assholes like you are still alive to talk shit on the dead.  Go fuck yourself.  It's definitely part of god's plan.

Exiliado
Exiliado topcommenter

@vg1985 @Exiliado 

What's your deal with all the insults?

He was not tased for the graffiti, but for resisting arrest.

justinamazing2010
justinamazing2010

@mikeknowles  you are one dumb asshole, so you're saying if I spray paint a building the police have the right to kill me please know that you're wrong most the crimes nowadays are committed by the police, so if they have the right to kill me while spray painting a building then running away, then I have the right to kill them if see them committing a crime. You're just a Nazi. 

justinamazing2010
justinamazing2010

@mikeknowles  actually graffiti is not a sin if it was it would say so in the bible FUCK the police, that teen  is resting peacefully in heaven tagging walls

mikeknowles
mikeknowles

Just cuz a scumbag punk was too weak to withstand a taser doesn't mean we should remove that tool from law enforcement.

mikeknowles
mikeknowles

Do you think that if Reefa was not out violating the law but doing charity work that his cold corpse would be lying on a slab at the coroners office?

ianlutz561
ianlutz561

@mikeknowles @AnaCampos Mike, do you think that the only possible solution was to taze the kid to death? I would think that the police force has had a lot more training and could have handled the situation very differently.... otherwise they are not fit to be cops.

mikeknowles
mikeknowles

That's funny last I checked 18 years old was an adult. This punk was a criminal. Now he's dead. It's not like we lost an upstanding citizen.

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