Reefa Rally on Lincoln Road: Israel Hernandez's Family Demands Answers Over Teen's Death

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Reefa_march_banner.jpg
Michael E. Miller
Israel Henandez's family, in black, leads a march yesterday along Lincoln Road
More than 200 people marched along Lincoln Road in Miami Beach yesterday afternoon to mark a grim two-month anniversary: the death of teenager Israel Hernandez. Reefa, as Hernandez was widely known, died on August 6 after Miami Beach cops caught him spray painting an abandoned McDonald's and Tasered him in the chest.

But the march was just as much a demand for action as a memorial, with Hernandez's mother, father, and sister calling on cops and city officials to properly investigate the police-involved killing.

"Isn't the police supposed to stop crime? Well, stop it already because this was a crime!" shouted Reefa's older sister, Ofir Hernandez. "Today, I [still] do not know why my brother died... They have not given us answers."

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

Protesters began to assemble at the intersection of Lincoln and Washington Avenue around 3:30 p.m. There were teenagers sporting skateboards with #RIPReefa stickers on them, many of them schoolmates of Hernandez's; Dream Defenders down from Tallahassee to attend the march; and strangers shocked by the senseless killing into lending a hand.

At the center of the boisterous but peaceful march, however, was the Hernandez family. Dressed in black, the Hernandezes led the march along Lincoln Road as bewildered tourists looked on.

Miami Beach police officers -- some of them wearing the same type of Taser that took Reefa's life -- blocked off traffic to let protesters pass by.

After 20 minutes, the procession came to a halt at City Hall. There, Jacqueline Hernandez rose to speak publicly about her slain son for the first time. The grieving mother took the sunglasses from her tear-stained face gripped a megaphone.

"You all have filled my heart with the courage to fight against the forces that pain me, so that the death of my son won't be in vain," she said in Spanish before being overcome by sobs.

"Estamos contigo, Jacqui," someone shouted from the crowd. "Estamos contigo." Bolstered by the crowd, Jacqueline Hernandez continued.

"I will fight," she said. "I will shout at the top of my lungs until those who caused the death of my son are investigated, until there is transparency and justice."

"Today it is my son that is dead, but tomorrow it could be yours," she warned.

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22 comments
Justice for Israel Hernandez Reefa
Justice for Israel Hernandez Reefa

Thanks for covering the story! If you care about our police protecting our youth and not just abandoned buildings (like the one that Israel tagged), follow us to participate in more events. Israel is not the only victim of the excessive use of force by some police officers. That is why we demand justice, because this should not happen ever again in our city.

Heike Tiegen
Heike Tiegen

I feel bad for the family but reality is he broke the law and ran. He tagged alllllllllll over my neighborhood including my condominium which we had to pay for to get it repainted. He had no respect for private property.

drakemallard
drakemallard topcommenter

It’s a crime, not art!  Graffiti, it’s everywhere.On freeway bridges, bus stops maybe your own property. But getting rid of it is a never-ending, expensive process.


 Fleeing the police, after they have identified themselves as police, is ALWAYS a chargeable offense. Once you flee from an officer, you can be charged with fleeing the police, even if you have done nothing wrong.

The moral is: If a police officer asks you for I.D. or wants to handcuff you and you are innocent, do not run. Just comply. You can always file a complaint later, if the cop has acted inappropriately The criminal charge of fleeing a police officer is often added on to other criminal charges

For the last 17 years, the North Beach residents and the business owners have been working hard to get the area revitalized and have changed it to be a desirable place to live in and for tourists from all over the world come visit. This has been accomplished with the help and support of the Miami Beach Police Officers assigned to North Beach.

The rebirth of North Beach took a long time and selfish actions, which do not take in consideration the effect on other people, are simply not acceptable. The North Beach businesses offer work for local people, who feed their families with the business movement in the area. At the same time, the majority of the residents appreciate living in a safe and clean area where tourism is welcome because it gives life to this part of Miami Beach.

When private property gets tagged with graffiti, property owners are required by Miami Beach Code Enforcement to paint right away, spending funds that could very well be used for other positive things.

It is very tragic what has taken place with the death of a young man, who instead of using his talents in a positive way, decided to risk his freedom by doing what he very well knew was wrong. His selfish actions brought him to a confrontation with the police officers looking after a community. They had no intention of causing death to anyone by using a working tool provided to them to be used on those who refused to listen to a police officer order when caught breaking the law.

Instead of promoting the defacing of private property, violence and disrespect to the police officers, people should use a little common sense. It is not difficult to understand that all human beings have the capacity to differentiate right from wrong and the capacity to understand that actions have consequences, without forgetting that the first action is what leads to what then will follow. TEACH YOUR CHILDREN RIGHT, SO WHEN THEY GO OUT TO SOCIETY THEY CANNOT REGRET THEIR ACTIONS LATER.

It is important for the news to take to their viewers another point of view of what has taken place.

Anthonyvop1
Anthonyvop1 topcommenter

Shouldn't the title read "Parents of destructive, criminal, Vandal still pushing to make some money off of his death"?

Tony Miller
Tony Miller

Fleeing police after they've identified themselves and resisting arrest are what got him tazed not graffiti.

Frank Castle
Frank Castle

fuck miami beach police, bunch of fucking losers

Ru Fornar
Ru Fornar

Han Steelo of Eazy Street Tattoos did that awesome logo, R.I.P. Reefa

Rafael Velez Jr
Rafael Velez Jr

Ric it was an abandoned building. He was still tased for nothing & the cops high fived each other. Celebrating tasing the shit out of him. FILM THE POLICE

Tina Kamenel
Tina Kamenel

The "victim" building was already covered with, amongst other things, political posters. Did those politicians get arrested- or tased? I think not. The cop involved had warned the kid that if he caught him tagging again he was gonna "get him" the kid, being a kid, ran from said cop. He did end up paying for his life for a MINOR infraction. The police have to answer for this.

Chris Cvnt
Chris Cvnt

And clearly all vandals deserve to die. -Eyeroll-

Ric Frambach
Ric Frambach

does it matter what/where ? vandalism is vandalism.

Phil Ramirez
Phil Ramirez

Had any of you seen the "masterpiece", he "vandalized"?!

Ric Frambach
Ric Frambach

While its sad that someone lost their life, the bottom line remains unchanged. The young man willingly chose to break the law. Had he not chosen to vandalize the property of others, this wouldn't have happened.

Phil Ramirez
Phil Ramirez

Not to play the race card here, but had REEFA worn a yarmulke, that cop would've exercised more restrain while pursuing the kid. That youngsta was literally fried by a cop who already has been disciplined several times, prior to the incident. But of course, you're a Cuban cop working in Dade county, the beach, with the best lawyers, PR people plus that aura of invincibility and/or impunity?!?! C'mon people, this kid was murdered.

Ailene Morales-Suarez
Ailene Morales-Suarez

While I feel bad for what occurred, I don't know what else that police officer could have done. He used a taser. Before that, they only had bullets u know. Had the kid nor try to run from the cop, this would have never happen. Sad overall

NorthBeachResident
NorthBeachResident

@Heike Tiegen Yeah, so kill him, right? Allow the police to use a potentially lethal weapon in a manner inconsistent with how the manufacturer says it's supposed to be used (not in the chest) and deny him medical attention. 

johnvonjohn
johnvonjohn

@drakemallard agreed besides the guy decided to vandalize on one of few roads that go from one side of Miami to the other one that is traveled by hundreds all hours. Also the bal harbor area is full of cops 24/7 and he was only a few blocks from the Dispatcher.

To all those who says its just an abandon building with stuff on it. There was nothing on but for sale signs and ONE campaign POSTER that could be removed by untying it. If he wanted to spray paint this "masterpiece" (which for those who were curious was his name in graffiti form which still looked bad) could have gone to wynwood or his own backyard with a wood panel from the home depot or any store selling wood and tagged that.

Sure the police shouldn't use force but come on common sense you run for a minor crime you must be up to no good. Instead of wasting time trying to get the cop suspend or fired just let the poor boy rest this wont bring him back nor will tagging up the city with reefa bs will get the cop fired it only helps the police show hes a punk and they will continue to support the officers actions. As for the "friends" who saw everything how would they have not been arrested if they saw there friend tazed and the cops high fiving each other and not get arrested because there were no other arrest but the friends claimed tp have asked the cops and also claimed they were look outs for reefa and no one else saw them before or after. Hmmm sounds fishy to me

subhash.kateel
subhash.kateel

@Ric Frambach and Vandalism is a misdemeanor which means by state law if the cops weren't trying to prevent bodily harm, it was unlawful for them to use force.  If the law is the law, why are you excusing the cops breaking the law in this case?

subhash.kateel
subhash.kateel

@Ric Frambachhad the cop, who stole over $40,000 in overtime and lied on a drug test have been dismissed from the force, he wouldn't have been around to kill Israel.  That is the real bottomline.  Florida state law is really explicit on when you can use force:

"

1. [In] which he or she reasonably believes [it] to be necessary to defend himself or herself or another from bodily harm while making the arrest; 2. When necessarily committed in retaking felons who have escaped; or 3. When necessarily committed in arresting felons fleeing from justice…

"

none of those applied to israel,  so the cops broke the law. You can't talk about bottom lines and then pretend that the cop that tased him to death was a boy scout who was just following the law.

charlienj
charlienj

@Ailene Morales-Suarez The cop could have easily arrested this boy without the use of a taser.  The taser didn't stop Israel from running; Israel had already stopped.  It is clear that the cops tasered him for their own pleasure.  It's also clear you don't understand the facts of this case.

subhash.kateel
subhash.kateel

@Ailene Morales-Suarez the crime was a misdemeanor, cops are only suppose to use force to prevent bodily harm or stop a fleeing felon.  Neither of those things was true.

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