Reefa Candlelight Vigil: On Slain Teen's 19th Birthday, Friends and Family Demand Justice

Categories: News

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Morgan Coleman
Israel's sister, Ofir, at the vigil
Yesterday should have been a celebration for this family of Colombian immigrants. It should have been a night filled with music and art and laughter. It should have been Israel "Reefa" Hernandez's 19th birthday.

Instead, it was yet another milestone along the long path of mourning the slain teenager, who was fatally Tased by Miami Beach Police in the early hours of August 6.

Last night, friends, family members, and activists gathered at the spot where Hernandez died to remember him and demand justice.

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

Scores of supporters crowded the sidewalk at 71st Street and Collins to pay tribute to the teenage artist and skateboarder. Dressed in black and holding small candles aloft, they were buffeted by strong winds blowing off the Atlantic Ocean two blocks away.

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Morgan Coleman
Israel's sister and mother, dressed in black
As at a rally last month on Lincoln Road, Hernandez's family renewed its calls for justice over the tragic killing.

The Hernandezes have filed a lawsuit against Miami Beach Police, accusing Officer Jorge Mercado of using excessive force when he Tasered Israel once in the chest following a seven minute foot chase around North Beach.

Police say the incident wasn't the first time they had caught Hernandez spray painting buildings in the area. Law enforcement officials have also suggested that Hernandez was on hard drugs at the time of his death -- an accusation his family has strenuously denied.

The State Attorney's Office has yet to release an autopsy on Israel Hernandez.

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Morgan Coleman

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Morgan Coleman

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Morgan Coleman

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Morgan Coleman
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18 comments
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.....

HarryTheHandyman
HarryTheHandyman topcommenter

Shouldn't have run from the cops in the first place.

Victoria Alvarez Noriega
Victoria Alvarez Noriega

Sorry for the family but that's why you don't run away from police. Not only was he participating in illegal activity he then resisted arrest and ran off. The cops didn't shoot him. They chased after him and tazed him. A tazer usually doesn't kill you. People get flu shots all the time without a problem then there's the one person that has a bad reaction to it. Same thing. Most people get tazed without adverse reactions. He was the one in a million unfortunately. But don't go crying police brutality. He knew he wasn't going to do heavy time for spray painting so why run. It's a shame. Very sad for those he left behind.

David Estreval
David Estreval

Did he get buried with them at the city's expense??

David Estreval
David Estreval

Whatever happened to those toxicology reports???

Barbara Behrens
Barbara Behrens

So very sorry for loss! May you get the justice you deserve.

Geni Mekanika
Geni Mekanika

YOU Clare Hartkorn-Taylor are a disgusting human being for making such a statement. You should get tasered by police for walking while ignorant -.-

Clare Hartkorn-Taylor
Clare Hartkorn-Taylor

Sorry he dead, but he was a criminal. Why did he run if he was innocent hummm

verdisvioletta
verdisvioletta

ALMOST FOUR MONTHS AND THE STATE ATTORNEY'S OFFICE REFUSES TO RELEASE THE AUTOPSY RESULTS??? THIS IS UNFAIR TO THE FAMILY AND THE PUBLIC AT LARGE.  THE POLICE ARE CLAIMING HE HAD COCAINE IN HIS SYSTEM INSTEAD OF HIS DEATH BEING DUE TO EXCESSIVE FORCE.  KATHERINE FERNANDEZ RUNDLE- RELEASE THOSE RESULTS NOW!!!! 

premitive1
premitive1

@drakemallard and now parents should shoot their kids for drawing on the walls because it's against the rules, sorry

pirtdab
pirtdab

@Andrew Foster I bet you wouldn't say that shit to her face... and walk away with any teeth left. but I dare you to try.
Say's a lot about a person when their best option is to use a derogatory and chauvinistic, monosyllabic word to respond to a woman's comment. 

pirtdab
pirtdab

@Clare Hartkorn-Taylor HE WAS AN ARTIST! HE WAS A HUMAN BEING! Who the f*#K do you think you are? He deserved to DIE? Bullsh*t! So you deserve to get tazed to death the next time you run a stop sign? He committed a misdemeanor offense by tagging an ABANDON building!  If prosecuted he would have a fine, probation and or community service at the most, instead you're saying it's okay for the cops to kill him because he ran? Did you know you are 8x's more likely to be killed by a cop than by a terrorist? With the history of police brutality in this city, and what resulted in his capture, it is obvious he had good reason to run.
Running does not excuse him being killed!  WTF planet do you live on? What gave the police the right to be judge jury and executioner?  
It's people like you who excuse abusive police behavior and allow it to continue to erode our rights as citizens and human beings! People like you who make excuses for these pigs so they can kill again and escape repercussions -by hiding behind their shield.  "oh but he was a criminal" and your a moron... to bad you can't be tazed for that. 

drakemallard
drakemallard topcommenter

@pirtdab  

t’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.

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.

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