Israel Hernandez Killing: Protesters Demand State Attorney Charge Cop Who Tased Reefa

Categories: News

Ethan_Roman_Reefa_buddy.jpg
Michael E. Miller
Ethan Romano demands justice over his friend's death
Friends of Israel "Reefa" Hernandez gathered this morning outside the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office to demand the arrest of the cop who killed the teenager.

Armed with an autopsy report confirming that Reefa died because he was Tasered -- and not because of drugs or "excited delirium," the condition often used to explain deaths connected to a Taser -- the protesters called on Katherine Fernandez Rundle to charge Miami Beach police officer Jorge Mercado for the August 6 incident.

"I want to see the man who killed my friend [put] in jail," said Reefa's friend, Ethan Romano. "Because if he can take a life, he should do life [in prison]."

See also: Israel "Reefa" Hernandez Died From Tasering, Not Drugs Or Excited Delirium

Jorge Estomba, a member of the group Justice for Israel Hernandez, said he first learned details of the autopsy report on Thursday during a conversation with associate Miami-Dade Medical Examiner Dr. Mark Shuman.

"Dr. Shuman told me, 'I have the report that I've been waiting for for 12 weeks because the Miami Beach Police Department has not sent me their report. But now I can tell you Mr. Estomba that the cause of death was a cardiac arrest due to the direct application of the Taser, of the electronic gun,'" Estomba said.

"That was as far as the conversation went," Estomba said. "There was no mention of any accident."

Today, however, the State Attorney's Office released a statement confirming that the autopsy report -- which has not been released -- deemed Reefa's death "accidental."

The State Attorney's Office is still reviewing the circumstances of the "In-Custody Death" of Israel Hernandez. While the recent Medical Examiner's conclusion of "accidental death due to electrical discharge" is an extremely important piece of information, our decision will be based upon the totality of the facts, including all of the reports from the City of Miami Beach Police Department. Once we have received everything from the police department, the State Attorney's Office will move toward finalizing our report based on the evidence, the testimony of witnesses and the law.

Estomba said Hernandez's family was outraged.

"Israel Hernandez Jr. did not fall on a Taser. Israel Hernandez Jr. was intentionally Tasered to death," he said. "Israel Hernandez Jr. committed a misdeameanor. He did not commit a crime. He did not have any weapons on him, according to all the police reports... Here is a man who weighed 140 some pounds and had seven police officers go to subdue him. They pushed him and they Tasered him. That's not an accident. That's premeditated. That is a crime. Let's make that clear.

"The family is very surprised and in shock, that's why they are not here," he said. "They are in shock and in grief that this... could be labeled an 'accident.' If that's the case, that's a joke. That is disrepectful. That is not justice."

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41 comments
Joseph Mazon
Joseph Mazon

THis case sounds like PD overreaction. I do not know the facts, but it doesn't smell right. IAD? DO YOUR JOB, get to the bottom of this, and do it fast, cuz you're working on the court of public opinion.

Hazie Almendares
Hazie Almendares

I believe that cop should be charged or fired but the way life is government always win. Government always does what it wants and never pay the price like any civilian does. Sadly this is our country now.

Phil Ramirez
Phil Ramirez

SURE... A CUBAN COP, PROSECUTED IN DADE COUNTY?! Sounds like kosher pork to me.

Laz Rodriguez
Laz Rodriguez

A lot of victim blaming with this story. So if youre drunk and get raped....shouldnt have gotten drunk?? Fucked up society. Power tripped steroided Miami cop should be prosecuted

Exiliado
Exiliado topcommenter

Romano and Estomba are just two clowns.


There's something called the Rule Of Law. 

Ms. Rundle cannot arrest and/or prosecute the officer because he did not break the law. He was doing his job. Period.


Our justice system cannot arrest and prosecute every time a mob of clueless clowns gets together in front of the State Attorney's office.


Israel Hernandez is dead. It was tragic, but he brought it on himself. Let him rest in peace, and use his case to teach our young the tragic outcomes of not showing respect for authority. 

Frank Castle
Frank Castle

he was spray painting a closed down mcdonalds...the cop should go to jail and someone should kill his kid so he can see how it feels

Dee Ann
Dee Ann

Don't these people have jobs?

Joee Dirt
Joee Dirt

the officer could have chased him and handled the situation with his hands..in south Florida the police are out of hand..ladies and gentleman u need to open Ur eyes to the bigger picture.police are the biggest gang in America if Ur not rich or have money u cannot win against them. tasers are lethal weapons why didn't he mace him come people look at the bigger picture the kid was spray painting witch is considered a non violent crime,so why was lethal forces used. how come four young in shape officers couldn't chase this kid down. police brutality at its finest

DRAKEMALLARD.0
DRAKEMALLARD.0 topcommenter

He was engaged in defacing someone's property, and knew it, and ran.His friends explained that they were using drugs together before they went out to vandalize.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

Kenny Bustos
Kenny Bustos

Some comments here are so ridiculous. First of all, the taser is NOT used as lethal force. A taser is used in lieu of a gun which obviously IS lethal force. Every officer that carries a electronic control device such as a Taser, gets "shocked" by it. If this is considered lethal, do you think every department would use it on his own officers??? How many subjects get "tased" on a daily basis and they're fine?? The "taser" is used to avoid a possible escalation into deadly force.... Unfortunately this young man died but it was Not this officer's intentions. If the officer wanted to kill him, he would've shot him. Period!! Gabriel Trujillo Jr. How this this "pig" f up.

Heike Tiegen
Heike Tiegen

So tired of this story. He chose to run from the cops. The end.

Clara Sadurni Himel
Clara Sadurni Himel

Mercy - you obviously know a lot about firearms training and about target training. do you know how difficult it is to shoot from a standing platform at a moving target? you must be the authority on how to teach law enforcement where to shoot. The legs? an arm? Are you kidding me? You shoot to stop the threat. Let me guess...someone coming at a cop with a knife...I guess they should shoot the knife out of their hands like do on TV, right? SMDH.... you know how many people get tazed daily? you think the police don't want to preserve life? what kind of monsters do you think they are? they have families, too. they want to go home to theirs, too. these cops did nothing wrong.

Gabriel Trujillo Jr.
Gabriel Trujillo Jr.

"If he hadn't been breaking the law"... If the pig that killed him could run maybe he would've caught up instead of tazing a kid for a minor infraction. You think they taze every thief or child molester they "almost" catch? Next time you get pulled over for speeding remember you should've been doing the speed limit and whatever this cop decides to do to you is fair game... since you broke the law. I blame law enforcement. They fucked up. When a waiter fucks up you get cold soup. When a cop fucks up you get a dead kid.

Jon Zepnick
Jon Zepnick

That investigation won't be done for at least 2 years. SAO still has open police shooting cases dating back to 2010.

Cece Lia
Cece Lia

Bryan Angarita haha yes, that's quite a stank face

Mike Cody
Mike Cody

What about a suit against Taser?

Mercy Mercy-Me
Mercy Mercy-Me

Clara, if that's what they are taught, then they are teaching it wrong. That is my point. The companies that make the tazers issue clear warnings on this exact use. Tazing any unarmed person in the chest is massively irresponsible use of force. If you're shooting for center mass, then you may as well be shooting to kill. They could easily go for an arm or leg or somewhere less life threatening on the body. Preserve life when possible. The kid broke the law, but he didn't in any way deserve this.

Ariana Hernandez Reguant
Ariana Hernandez Reguant

running from a police officer might be another misdemeanor, and the punishment for that should be established in a court of law. does not give the police a license to kill. its appalling how many people are willing to throw away all rights and protections from state/institutional abuse. If at least the Miami Beach police dept would have a stellar reputation, but unfortunately their record makes them pretty scary. And no, police officers should not be thugs.

Tony Prieto
Tony Prieto

The facts are that Mr. Hernandez or "Reefa" was committing a crime when approached by a POLICE OFFICER. Instead of obeying orders, he ran from police. It's sad that the kid died but he brought it on himself. You can't blame law enforcement.

Clara Sadurni Himel
Clara Sadurni Himel

@Mercy - on the contrary when they get certified, they are taught to shoot center mass area...hats the largest area of a target....I don't know where you get your info from.

Ariana Hernandez Reguant
Ariana Hernandez Reguant

@those who defend these executions: so if running from the cops gives the cops a license to kill, why use tasers at all? then let them use real guns. let the cops shoot and kill with real guns any unarmed person who is on drugs naked at the neighbor's or painting graffitti. i mean, for all those who defend the cops using tasers, then just call it by what it is and dont hide. use guns and then dare to defend the same argument: that killing unarmed suspects of a misdemeanor (!) point blank is ok by you.if shooting with a gun is not ok, shooting with a taser is not ok either, because *it is the same thing*.

Eddy Carballo
Eddy Carballo

Of course he didn't deserve to die!!! And as I parent I can't even begin to understand the heartache his folks must be going through. But the tragedy would not have occurred if only one thing changed...his being there defacing someone else's property.

Mercy Mercy-Me
Mercy Mercy-Me

The Miami PD has a duty to use its weapons reasonably and responsibly. The manufacturers of the tasers themselves have given clear warnings to PDs and the public not to administer a taser directly to the chest for the very reason it can be lethal. The police completely disregarded that information in this instance. That's negligence resulting in the death of a human being, regardless of what the kid was up to at the time. For his friends and family's sake, I hope there is some sort of justice.

Gabriel Trujillo Jr.
Gabriel Trujillo Jr.

Really? You've got one guy who shoots two people at a gas station in cold blood on video in court and you people think think this kid deserved to die for spraying a wall?

Juan R. Pollo
Juan R. Pollo

Sorry, but like I have told my 7 kids, if you're going to be stupid you'd better be tough.

Hugo Bash
Hugo Bash

How bout @DanielConvers you suck a dick bitch!!!!!!

Eddy Carballo
Eddy Carballo

Probability of being tased if NOT COMMITTING A CRIME then running from the cops....ZEEEEEEERO!

Daniel Convers
Daniel Convers

How about you just don't break the law and then try to run from the police

whateveryousay
whateveryousay topcommenter

Luckily, you don't get to make that decision.  

Exiliado
Exiliado topcommenter

The officers did chase him, but he kept running.

He was obviously faster and fitter. That's what got him tasered. Should have stopped running.


HarryTheHandyman
HarryTheHandyman topcommenter

You must have dropped out of school before taking more advanced English classes, right?

cisconchip
cisconchip

Add yours to the ridiculous list. First of all when a police officer gets tazer trained they're usually tazered in the legs. And it's only once not multiple times and specifically not in the chest area. Question oh learned one is how many times was poor Reefa tazered and where was he tazered? If and how many times was he tazered in the chest area will determine whether it was not an "accident". Another question about tazer training, why do they not tazer each other in the chest cavity instead of the leg? I assume it is because in the proper use of tazer its placement has every thing to do lethality. Now since you think that it's not lethal, then would you allow yourself or your loved ones to be tazered in heart region ----answer please and in consideration we shall provide you with plentiful high fives to boot. 

HarryTheHandyman
HarryTheHandyman topcommenter

The speeding ticket comparison is a poor one.  If you've already pulled over, you have complied with the police officer.  A better example is getting caught in the act speeding and fleeing from the long arm of the law as this will result in less than favorable treatment, which is what happened with this guy.  Just replace speeding with vandalism.

HarryTheHandyman
HarryTheHandyman topcommenter

Let me guess, you're one of those "WHY DON'T COPS SHOOT WEAPONS OUT OF THE HANDS OF CRIMINALS" clowns.


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TASER International released a training advisory earlier this month that recommended officers avoid shooting suspects in the chests, if possible.

The Oct. 12 advisory, in the hands of critics, became controversial. TASER critics such as the American Civil Liberties Union and Amnesty International argued that language in the company’s training material is an admission that its electronic control devices (ECD) can cause cardiac arrest.

TASER CEO Rick Smith says he’s surprised by the uproar, which was caused by an article in the Arizona Republic, and that the targeting model wasn’t changed because the company sees greater risk of cardiac events from chest shots.

“Would I take a hit in the chest with a TASER?” Smith asks. “Absolutely, all day long. I believe absolutely in its safety.”

Smith says the new targeting guidelines were established for two reasons - to make application of TASER weapons more consistent and effective and to help law enforcement agencies defend against liability claims.

TASER is now recommending that officers aim lower center mass to put one probe above the belt line and one below. Smith says one of the reasons that the target zone was moved down was to make aiming for its pistols and its new XREP (eXtended Range Electronic Projectile) shotgun-fired impact round consistent.

“One of the concerns voiced by our training folks was that the targeting models could get confusing for the user if we changed them for each TASER product,” he explains.

One benefit of the new target zone, according to Smith, is that the TASER’s neuromuscular effect will be more effective lower center mass than it is across the chest.

“There’s not a lot of muscle around the sternum,” he explains. “There have even been instances where people shot with TASERs in the chest have experienced so little effect that they have been able to remove the darts. So for four or five years now, we have been training our users to lower their point of aim.”

But Smith does admit that one of the primary reasons for the change in targeting is to give law enforcement agencies and TASER International itself a stronger defense in liability cases stemming from the deaths of persons shot with TASERs.

“Several hundred people die each year in police custody, and the majority of them are not hit by TASERs. But we tend to hear about the ones involving TASER strikes,” Smith says. “If that person collapses relatively quickly and you’ve got a strike to the chest, then that puts us in a position of trying to convince a jury that the TASER did not play a role. If the probes are not on the chest, it takes away that argument from the plaintiffs.”

HarryTheHandyman
HarryTheHandyman topcommenter

You're forgetting one simple fact: Regardless of recent incidents, the taser is still a non-lethal weapon.

He'd be alive if he hadn't run from the cops that night.

Exiliado
Exiliado topcommenter

Nobody said he deserved to die.

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