Israel Hernandez Killing: Here Is Miami Beach Police's Policy on Tasering People

Categories: News

Taser.jpg
Wikimedia Commons
A Taser X26, the same type of stun gun used on Israel Hernandez
Anger continues to grow over the killing of Israel Hernandez, who died Tuesday morning after a Miami Beach police cop Tasered the 18-year-old. In the last 24 hours, the cop who electrocuted Hernandez has been put on leave, while the teenager's father has called the incident an "assassination of a young artist and photographer."

Much of the debate centers on whether veteran officer Jorge Mercado was right to hit the teenager in the chest with the electronic weapon.

New Times has obtained a copy of MBPD's policy on using Tasers. It raises questions about whether Mercado was himself breaking the rules when he shocked Hernandez to death.

See also:
- Teenager Israel Hernandez Dies After Miami Beach Cops Catch Him Tagging, Taser Him
- Israel Hernandez Killing: Officer Who Tasered Teen Put on Leave, Family Ask Feds for Probe

According to the Miami Beach Police Department's "Use of Force" procedural guidelines, cops should use Tasers when:

a) The subject is not in the physical control of the officer yet posses a threat; b) The officer, based on objective reasonableness, perceives an imminent threat of physical force against himself, other persons, property or self-inflicted injury

Police Chief Ray Martinez has said that Hernandez was cornered by police, but then ran toward the officers and ignored commands to stop.

"The officers were forced to use the Taser to avoid a physical incident,'' Martinez told the Miami Herald.

Hernandez was hit once in the chest and collapsed, Martinez said. The teenager's friends, meanwhile, have accused cops of high-fiving and bragging about the arrest before noticing that Hernandez was dying.

If Martinez's description of the arrest is accurate, and cops felt like the scrawny teenager was about to assault them, then the Tasering would appear justified (setting aside the issue of whether cops should have been chasing a kid for tagging a derelict building in the first place).

MBPD policy also outlines when Tasers cannot be used:

a) when the subject is at an elevated location which poses a risk of great bodily harm or death to the subject should he fall; b) when flammable gases or liquids are in close proximity to the subject or officer; c) or when the subject is known or appears to be; (1) A pregnant woman (unless the use of deadly force is justified); (2) A child under the age of 13 (unless the use of deadly force is justified); (3) An elderly person (unless the use of deadly force is justified); d) when the person is in control of a motor vehicle; e) when on a handcuffed prisoner unless the officer can justify its use

Tasers are "not be discharged intentionally at the eyes, groin or face of a subject," the guidelines add.

None of these apply to Hernandez. But the policy also says "verbal warnings shall be issued to the subject prior to deploying the ECD to allow him the opportunity to comply with the officer's commands, unless the warning would provide a tactical advantage to the subject being taken into custody."

Did Mercado give Hernandez warning before using the Taser on him?

In a police report on the incident, another cop chasing the teenager said he was only out of his sight for "two seconds" before Mercado arrested him.

Did Mercado stun Hernandez without warning as he came around a corner? Or, as Martinez argues, did he use the Taser to avoid injuring the teen -- only for the plan to backfire?

We won't know until MBPD releases more info on the deadly arrest.

Also at issue is whether cops mistreated Hernandez after using the Taser on him. MBPD policy says cops shall "verbally direct" and "control and handcuff the subject" after shocking them. Felix Fernandez told the Herald that his friend was "shoved" against a wall.

In 2010, New Times reported that 52 people had been died after being Tasered by police in Florida, including five in Miami-Dade County. That makes Hernandez at least the sixth local victim to die after a stun guns attack.

According to Amnesty International, more than 500 people have been killed after police used Tasers on them since 2001.

"Even if deaths directly from Taser shocks are relatively rare, adverse effects can happen very quickly, without warning, and be impossible to reverse," said Susan Lee of Amnesty International. "What is most disturbing about the police use of Tasers is that the majority of those who later died were not a serious threat when they were shocked by police."

Here are MBPD's full "Use of Force" guidelines:

Miami Beach Police - Taser Policy

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70 comments
biancaive
biancaive

estamos en un pais de ley y orden. el graffity o como se llame para mi es vandalismo es ilegal por lo tanto este chico era un delincuente ponganlo como lo pongan eso era. dejen a la policia hacer su trabajo y el que no le guste que se vayan a sus respectivos paises otra vez donde los matan y se tienen que callar la boca por que los matan a todos. no quiero que conviertan esta nacion en una republica babanera igual a la que ellos vienen. arriba policias sigan haciendo su brillante trabajo que mucho tienen. que esta gente lo que queren es convertir la nacion en una anarquia. fuera el que no le guste.

Tattooed_Beekeeper
Tattooed_Beekeeper

"take away the tazers and those fast cop cars ... give them each a night stick and a horse. ... "

officers these days are way over aggressive ..  and the law is flawed .. so please people dont get disappointed if things get worse  ... the economy is not getting better ... and the cops arent getting any smarter.

dregstudios1
dregstudios1

When will we start holding officers accountable for their brutality and excessive use of force?    It seems the more these situations arise, the more they are ignored and even justified.  Over 20 years after the Rodney King incident and what has changed?  We live in a country which profits from violent policing.  Read more about how our justice system has fixed the game to turn a buck at http://dregstudiosart.blogspot.com/2012/08/the-privatized-police-state.html

drakemallard
drakemallard topcommenter

Let me ask this question of the family, if someone graffitied your house or property, would you consider it art or vandalism? I bet money on it that you would be on the phone calling police. So,,,, now you know what your son was doing......
Sorry that he died, but he was also engaging in illegal, property destroying, vandalism.....

drakemallard
drakemallard topcommenter

Teenager painting on walls is grounds for shots fired and or electrocution..this my friends is why we rate last in education. Just plain dumb.

 This is not art it is Criminal Damage to property and this little criminal decided to fight the law and as the song goes the law won. People are cheering for this persons deviant behavior. Our society is circling the drain of it's own destruction. It's called vandalism. Then fleeing and alluding. If you want to express yourself do it on a canvas or your mothers house. So let me get this straight, if the graffiti kid complied, didn't run away, and listed to the police officers request to stop, he would be alive today. Sounds to me if you comply, do as the police say, take the arrest and possibly fight your charges in court, you will more than likely come out of this situation without being tased.

Chard Beauregarde
Chard Beauregarde

There was nothing in there about rushing police. Maybe you're fabricating some parts of the story to fit your cynical worldview.

pokalot1000
pokalot1000

Weren't Tasers initially advertised as a way for the police to stop deadly attacks without guns? When did that change? Are the Miami police so weak and useless they couldn't handle a situation like this without a Taser? Heaven forbid someone make S-hole Miami look trashy.....LOL!!

Why don't they hire grandmas to be police instead?....any useless, weak dolt can shoot a Taser.

James G. Camp
James G. Camp

FCOL,they tasered him, it's not like they pulled a glock and unloaded the gun on him. As I understand it, he didn't give the police much choice in the discretion to take his can of Krylon away from him and release him to his parents. Had the police done anything more than let him escape is the only way that would ever be good enough for anyone. There is Wynwood for this kind of graffiti and foolishness, and as an artist he certainly can translate that talent to canvas rather than a public building. If the way it was reported is hw it really went down, the Miami PD have my support on this one. The reaction the kid had to being tasered was simply an unpredictable accident, that rare incident tat it would be fatal.

Tony Miller
Tony Miller

Not just smoking weed. Smoking weed and rushing police. That's loony behavior to me. As for my psychological issues it's mostly a deep seeded anger at a society that no longer takes responsibility for their actions.

Johnny Morris
Johnny Morris

I don't want to live in an area where the criminals rule the streets and the police just watch.

Chard Beauregarde
Chard Beauregarde

Tony Miller if smoking weed makes you a "drug crazed loony" then you have some deep seated psychological issues, my friend.

Haley Ambros
Haley Ambros

#justiceforisrael ♥ when the truth is brought to the light I hope all the negative commentators on here remember their harsh words and take a moment to reflect on how they are living the shitty lives they still (luckily) have

Tony Miller
Tony Miller

"If this was your kid" Never. Because my kid won't be getting high and going tagging at 5am. "You taze drug crazed loonies" Admitted to smoking weed. Ran from police. Rushed them when cornered. That meets my drug crazed loonie check list. He was a victim. A victim of bad parenting and a victim of bad choices. It's sad but not murder or an assassination. Can we stop wasting tax dollars on investigating the obvious and unnecessary charges based on public opinion.

drakemallard
drakemallard topcommenter

If the investigation finds that he was high as he vandalized the property, the drug dealer and also Israel's "friends" should be held responsible for his death in court.Yes, 2nd degree murder for conspiring in a crime where a life was lost. It's legit and legal. They shouldn't have been doing the crime in the first place regardless of how small or big deal it is.

Alice Gomez
Alice Gomez

Too many senseless killings.Cops could have gone about things differently. JMO I see the pic of this kids and it breaks my heart.

Alex Anico
Alex Anico

Skateboarding is a crime when you skateboard somewhere that says no skating just like tagging is a crime...but that's not the point, the point is that the cops tazed the kid for writing his name on a wall... You taze drug crazed loonies who you need to bring down without killing cause they are a threat not some kid tagging an abandoned building so you can meet your quota..

Blake Grasso
Blake Grasso

They kicked my boy to the side and high fives not rite rip Isreal JUSTICE shall come

Brandon Chico TheThird
Brandon Chico TheThird

A life permanently gone for something temporary..jorge mercado...how do you sleep at night knowing you killed a kid? I hope he has no kids..he might kill them as well for coloring on the walls.

Brandon Chico TheThird
Brandon Chico TheThird

Rip reefa!!!!!!! Fuck you lames. If this was your kid you'd be broken down so stop with the irrelevant comments . Aditza "dizzy" ... you're a stupid Fuck..I hope this happens to you sometime so we can talk shit about u..have a good day... #justiceforisrael

Chard Beauregarde
Chard Beauregarde

Punk ass cowardly cops had to use a taser on a kid spraying graffiti. MBPD are a gang of criminal thugs!

j.pollo
j.pollo

"Israel Hernandez Killing"? How can we take anything you report seriously with this kind of bias? This was a death, period. The autopsy report will determine the cause, which I hope you write about as extensively as the drivel up to now.

Sebastian Antonio Leon
Sebastian Antonio Leon

You're telling me that a bunch of cops couldn't tackle this scrawny kid to the ground???? If he had nowhere else to go, and he was running toward them, couldn't they have hit him and knock him to the ground????

Clemente Morales
Clemente Morales

Is this a terribly unfortunate incident? Absolutely. But the reality of it all is that the Miami Beach Police Department has so many other huge scandals that are on going, that this is just one other thing to tack on.

Andrew De Marino
Andrew De Marino

DOES THE PUNISHMENT FIT THE CRIME F*CKTARDS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mark Casino-Brown
Mark Casino-Brown

If a cop tell you to stop, you just stop. Your lawyer can deal with them at a later time.

Carlos Cnotez Rodriguez
Carlos Cnotez Rodriguez

i dont know whats worse MNT tryna make stories outta nothing or the POS ppl that comment on the stories... as if none of you whores and honkeys havent dont something youve regretted.

Louis Wing
Louis Wing

I wouldn't be surprised if they did.

Carolina Fuller Michelena
Carolina Fuller Michelena

My condolences to the family. I believe the actions of the police officers was despicable. I am ashamed of them. This kid did not deserve to be chased down and tasered. After chasing the kid for 10 minutes and cornering him, why didn't they just tackle him down to the ground and cuff him. I mean really he was only about 150 lbs or so. Their comments and behavior after he was down was shameful and I sure do hope they are punished to the fullest extent possible

KnowYourRights
KnowYourRights

@drakemallard graffiti can be painted over.  In order for the actions to be property destroying vandalism, the owner of the said property needs to press charges.  If it was an abandoned building or property, the police just killed a young man, then high-fived each other, for no reason.  The young man was not detained.  He does not HAVE TO comply, if the officers did not read him his Miranda rights, and state what he is being charged with.  There are false arrest charges, you know drake.  I would sue, and let MBPD work for that family until 2050.

wereallhuman
wereallhuman

@drakemallard Sometimes I let my dog poop on other people's yards when I forget the plastic bags. You could say that also damages property, makes it stinky and leaves something the owners have to clean up. But that's not even a misdemeanor. It's a code violation, and code enforcers don't have tasers.

Reed
Reed

@drakemallard   I actually Agree with the Drake!


he was repeatedly warned to not do this by police.  but he ignored them.  Finally he was caught, and he again ignored the warning to stop.


If he was beaten with a night stick, would that have been a better outcome?  maybe, but nobody knew he would die.  -that's pretty rare...  especially for a young fit adult.  


Sad this person had to die, when he seemed to have a future...  but its his own damn fault.  nobody else fault but his. 

Reed
Reed

@Chard Beauregarde  

Depends on who's version you read.  

Remember, media doesn't always tell the whole truth.  since they do have an agenda.

-yes, he rushed the police when he was finally cornered.  its in the police report.

(media is a for profit business, and every click or paper read is money in their pocket...  OR.,   they have incentive to make you upset.)

  

Reed
Reed

@pokalot1000 

night sticks were the solution before this.  broken bones and internal injuries were the results.  -are you saying that the less than  1% of deaths justify going back to beatings ?

GODisGREAT
GODisGREAT

@Tony Miller both previous responses to you were pretty senseless so ill go ahead and do the right thing.....weed is fine. weed has nothing to do with what happened to this kid. 

also... likely, instead of smoking weed, your child will be an alcoholic and date rape a girl in college. 

the kid weighed 100 friggin pounds, and by the way, "kid" is the operative word. these cops were likely stuffed with beans and rice and likely double his weight. why use deadly force? because cops in miami are undereducated, senseless zombies....a little bit like you. 

we have an education problem and a compensation problem. if teachers and cops were paid more, things like this wouldnt happen.              

jake.vonas
jake.vonas

@Tony Milleryou don't realize that everyone in the country commits criminal acts on a regular basis. There are so many illegal activities that no person in the country could possibly know them all. You may want to rethink your presumption that you obey the law, and that your well raised children obey every law and municipal ordinance, is frankly a joke...

Bobo
Bobo

@Tony Miller How do you know what your kid is doing assuming you have a kid. The issue is if a kid misbehaves and is not a threat to anyone else does that give the police the right to kill him

KnowYourRights
KnowYourRights

@drakemallard Again Drake, and to Tony Miller.... I hope Israel's family, is hiring an attorney.  As for the investigation and finding out what really happened, just watch the CCTV tapes.  Most of Broward and Miami is now readily under CCTV watch, by police, fire dept and emergency agencies.  I should know, I helped installed hundreds of cameras back in 2008.  If the evidence shows the police were using excessive force to deal with one individual, despite the officers involved and their joint years of police training, could not handle, or were afraid to get physical and detain Israel before killing him, then the officers should be held accountable and jailed.  How many officers across the USA kill people without any worry of legit and legal repercussions..... all they get is paid leave.  Watch the tapes, everything is recorded. 

GODisGREAT
GODisGREAT

@drakemallard its pot, you tool. POT. do you take advil when you have a headache? its like that, but better. you square.

Bobo
Bobo

@Brandon Chico TheThird He can't sleep at night because he is worried about his own worthless ass, as far as the kid he killed he could not care

Exiliado
Exiliado

@Evan Gallette 

Vandalized property is.

Resisting arrest is.

miamitrev2
miamitrev2 topcommenter

@Carlos Cnotez Rodriguez 

"whores and honkeys"        That made me laugh!

pokalot1000
pokalot1000

@Reed @pokalot1000  

So a 250 lb professional policemen could not handle Israel without breaking his bones and causing internal injuries? 

Over 500 deaths by taser so far....compared to 900 deaths by mass killings. Amazingly, our politicians want total gun control on every American because of the mass killings but they don't mention taser regulation.

KnowYourRights
KnowYourRights

@Exiliado Yes resisting arrest is a crime, IF you are read your Miranda rights, and KNOW the charges your being arrested for.  If you don't know why the police are trying to detain or arrest you , you can resist.  There are false arrest charges that can be brought against the police.  

 Either crime you pick, if properly charged, and properly prosecuted...the penalty for those crimes is NOT death by taser.   

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