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

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via MIA Skateshop's Instagram
Israel "Reefa" Hernandez
Seven months after Israel "Reefa" Hernandez was killed by Miami Beach cops, authorities finally announced what his family has claimed all along: that the teen died from being Tasered.

The findings, which were disclosed yesterday by State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle, contradict both news reports and claims by Taser that its device isn't lethal.

"We've been saying it for seven months. It's nothing new," said Reefa's father, Israel Hernandez Sr. "My son didn't deserve the death penalty."

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

Back in September, seven weeks after New Times broke the story of Hernandez's death, the Miami Herald published an article suggesting the teen had died of "excited delirium," a controversial diagnosis often linked to mental disease or hard drug use.

Hernandez had a body temperature "well over 102 degrees over an hour after [he was] pronounced dead, according to multiple law enforcement sources," the Herald reported. "An overheated body is common among people who have been ruled as having died of excited delirium."

See also: Is excited delirium killing coked-up, stun-gunned Miamians?

The Herald also quoted Miami-Dade Police Benevolent Association President John Rivera as saying: "The Taser doesn't kill these people... It's the drugs they take, it takes their body into a state that's far greater than what their body can tolerate."

Reefa_march_Ofir_on_shoulder.jpg
Michael E. Miller
Reefa's sister, Ofir Hernandez, cries on their mother's shoulder during a protest march
But yesterday's announcement revealed that Reefa didn't die from drugs or excited delirium. Rather, he died from heart failure caused by "energy device discharge." (Read: "Taser." Miami Beach Police use a Taser X26.)

The report -- which has yet to be released -- also revealed that Hernandez's death was "accidental." But that's not a surprise. No one has claimed that cops intentionally killed the kid.

Instead, Hernandez's friends and family have said police used excessive force by stun-gunning the scrawny skateboarder instead of simply subduing him.

"Our reaction is that these officers used what turned out to be deadly force for what everybody understands was a minor property offense," Todd McPharlin, the family's lawyer, told the Herald.

The family has also pointed out that Reefa was Tasered in the chest, a location the company itself has suggested cops avoid targeting. But Miami Beach Police only advises cops not to intentionally Taser subjects in the "eyes, groin or face of a subject."

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

"TASER International is always concerned when a death tragically occurs in custody and mourns the loss of a life," the company told the Herald. "We do not comment, however, on an unfortunate death without having been provided any factual documentation by the medical examiner or the opportunity to review the autopsy report."

The determination that a Taser caused the death of an otherwise healthy teen has huge implications here in Florida, where three other young men have died recently after being shot with the device.

On February 5, 21-year-old barber Willie Sams died after Miami-Dade Police used a Taser on him during an altercation. The 21-year-old was in town visiting family from Georgia.

Three weeks later, two more men died on the same day following use of the device.

On February 27, 37-year-old Maykel Antonio Barrera died after MDPD shot him with a Taser. Hours later, backyard boxer Treon Johnson, 27, died after he was shocked by Hialeah Police.

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47 comments
mexseiko
mexseiko

I have a lot of sympathy for this family. This kid was very talented. That said I really resent anyone characterizing this event as a "Death Penalty," "Excessive Use of Force," and let alone "Police Brutality." This is a very traumatic event even to the officers involved. The officer that shot the taser has to go for evaluation and even psyche treatment.


Then people begin to minimize the "crime" committed by Israel Hernandez in order to maximize the effect of the taser. Israel Hernandez knew that it was illegal what he was doing. He posted watchers, his friends, to tell him know when the police came. He also ran from the police, which is resistance to arrest.


He died of cardiac arrest, perhaps caused by the heart acceleration from running combined with the electric shock of the taser.


I think the police must understand the tasers better. The manufacturer must conduct more studies and provide better information about the effects of the power of the shock these tasers have on the human body under different conditions.


I believe the cops were doing their job and should shy away from doing it because of these rare but painful circumstances.


Parents must instruct their children about the law, the dangers of violating the law, and they types of friends they hang out with.

CheckpointCharlie73
CheckpointCharlie73

Another DARWIN AWARD WINNER!! He died from stupidity!!! Cops should be allowed to shoot lowlifes that run. 

Ricardo Andre Calderon
Ricardo Andre Calderon

I had a dream about this kids playing with tazers in the street. I walked away from that.

Suzan Klein
Suzan Klein

The fiest one IS ...LIVE THERE ALL YOUR LIFE. .

Daniela Bianchi
Daniela Bianchi

Well said Jorge!! Police Brutallity is a reality...this kid did nothing wrong, one family devastaded, one life lost...RIP Reefa!

David Estreval
David Estreval

Running + graffiti fumes + being a dumbass + tasering + whatever else was in his system = death

Lex Dillinger
Lex Dillinger

Boys in Blue - most dangerous gang in America.

Lex Dillinger
Lex Dillinger

Rest in Paint Israel. You shall never be forgotten. Feel free to haunt these assholes and their asinine comments.

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

Jorge Mederos
Jorge Mederos

I hope you people defending the cops never make a mistake or have children who make a mistake. And I hope that if your child is murdered, you don't stumble upon the comments insensitive assholes leave on social media about how your child deserved to die for running away from police or for painting a wall.

Mario Khal Paredes
Mario Khal Paredes

He was doing a crime. Like a criminal, he ran so he won't get in trouble. That being said, the police are way too reliant in using stun guns because they are "non lethal". This is shear laziness. I believe every street cop needs to pass a physical every year they're on the job, not just to get in the academy. Run after the perp, catch him/her. Most know that they won't be able to run that far so they quick to whip out the crutch.

Andrea Domergue
Andrea Domergue

Im sorry but one deserves to die for writing on a wall or running away from a violent person. He made a silly mistake and it cost him his life. If u think that is ok, then to you are a slave.

MiamiBeachCrack
MiamiBeachCrack

Taser X26 has a data recorder.   Are the Miami Beach police involved in felony tampering with evidence by not providing the data recorder results to the prosecutors?  Did the chief of police retire yesterday as a result of somebody making him an offer to keep his pension?   If the officer held the trigger for more than 5 seconds and this was recorded on the Taser data recorder would the officer be charged with manslaughter?   Felony convictions will make the officers lose their pension, sometimes amounting in losses of millions or more depending on how long the officer lives.  Is the prosecutor involved in covering up any felony involvement by police departments?  The fact that Taser International is not concerned is the M26 Taser Data Download protocol are being followed is troublesome.  Almost as troublesome as police video from a toilet being used as evidence in the Justin Bieber case.  What happened to your car cameras in the Bieber case?  Are you now using toilet cameras to prove cases?  Is the city commissioners, mayor, and city manager looking to deunionize this troubled police force?  Why is this this department so troubled and yet one of the highest paid when including benefits and overtime?  Who is negotiating and who has negotiated these union contracts? 

Andrew J. Herrero
Andrew J. Herrero

Really? Because I thought he died from running for the cops. You know? Like how you're not supposed to do when you are innocent. I'm not happy a young life was lost, but stop turning this kid into some kind of martyr for police brutality when he got himself into that predicament that caused his death.

Marlon De Leon
Marlon De Leon

your necrophiliac homo-erotic fantasies are your business, bud. Dimitris Thedreamboy

Dimitris Thedreamboy
Dimitris Thedreamboy

Who told him to tag up and run? Both are at fault him and cops. Rule number one, never run from police. If he tagged up my wall at the crib I would have shoot his ass after I stuck a fat dick in him.

Jorge Mederos
Jorge Mederos

Not only will these vile cretins murder you, but then they'll add insult to injury and desecrate your character by saying you died because you were on cocaine, not because they pumped your body full of electricity. Half of these stupid fucks in America believe that shit too! Fucking mess were living in.

Clemente Morales
Clemente Morales

I hope those cops are able to live with themselves. Absolutely shameful. It was graffiti. Nothing that can't be fixed with a coat of paint. NOT worth a human life. They should have just let the kid run away.

HarryTheHandyman
HarryTheHandyman topcommenter

Cause of death:

Committing a crime, getting spotted by a cop, and running.  

Lesson for the kids - don't do illegal shit because you might get caught, tasered, and possibly die.

Neysa Silver Campo
Neysa Silver Campo

They literally get away with murder!! My daughter was murdered in Baptist hospital!! My deepest condolences for his family

Troy Goings
Troy Goings

and not a dam thing done about it by them... Just wrong

Barbara S Manzano
Barbara S Manzano

Who is responsible for the blatant cover-up reported by other media yesterday? Disgusting.

alexiazoe
alexiazoe

@DRAKEMALLARD.0   Do you understand what overboard is? Do you understand that spitting on the ground is also considered a crime and so is jay walking... Should someone die over that? 

The building was abandoned and already covered in paint and flyers. What is wrong with you?

whateveryousay
whateveryousay topcommenter

I feel bad for the kid and his family.  Unfortunately he created the situation that lead to his death.  If hadn't been out tagging, doing drugs and then running from the police he would be alive today.


miamitrev2
miamitrev2 topcommenter

Was she really?   How much did you win in the lawsuit?

Exiliado
Exiliado topcommenter

@alexiazoe @DRAKEMALLARD.0  

What is wrong with YOU?


The building was already covered because of VANDALS like the deceased.

And no, he was not tasered because of THAT. He was tasered because he resisted arrest. It is sad, but if he had complied he would be alive today.



DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@whateveryousay  ... in what perverse fascist amoral world is tagging, doing drugs and running from pigs a capital offense?

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@LawCheck ... killing citizens -- even those suspected of crimes -- is not "protecting or serving society".



hth.

LawCheck
LawCheck

@DonkeyHotay @LawCheck 

The officers didn't make the taser, they didn't think they were killing the kid, and they didn't make the rules that informed them of the proper operating procedure to protect and serve society.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@LawCheck " I don't blame the officers for the death,"


You're part of the problem.

LawCheck
LawCheck

@whateveryousay @DonkeyHotay ,

I was just using the flag incident at Live Oak as an example of a problem with "siding with caution." There were numerous alternatives the police could have used to apprehend and subdue Hernandez in this situation. I don't blame the officers for the death, but I blame the policy makers and the taser companies/lobbyists for unrealistic claims about the safety of their product. 

The police could have used nets, rubber bullets, etc before resorting to tasers. This kid does not seem to have been a serious menace to society; he was just a little mischievous. Was he really the type of person who would have used force and violence against a police officer? I can almost see his epitaph:  

Here lies Israel Hernandez 

Beloved Son and Brother

Killed for some graffiti 

So a company could have its cover

whateveryousay
whateveryousay topcommenter

@LawCheck @whateveryousay @DonkeyHotay  I think I wasn't clear with what I was intending. First, the banning of American flag shirts is ridiculous.  Absolutely insane logic if you ask me.  The cops need to side with caution for their own safety.   They were confronted by a suspect who was fleeing from a crime, resisting arrest and high on drugs.  How would you have handled it? Would you just let the suspect go? The suspect is the one who elevated the situation, not the cops.  This kid rolled the dice and they came up snake eyes.  Sucks for him, but he created the situation that led to a terrible outcome.  

LawCheck
LawCheck

@whateveryousay @DonkeyHotay  

"The cops need to side with caution."

In one sentence, you explained everything that is wrong with the current generation in charge and America in general today. These parasitic leeches that run our country, they've run it ever since George H.W. Bush became president, all believe essential liberties should be compromised far too often in the name of safety and caution. I kindly ask these people to move away to another country, maybe China, where the society is founded on a tradition of social harmony. We're sick of these Bush and Obama safety-advocates imposing severe academic penalties on students, in the name of safety, for wearing American flag T-shirts because it offends imperialists at Live Oak. We want a country with more liberty and a prison system that is focused more on rehabilitation and justice, and not vindictive hysteria. 



whateveryousay
whateveryousay topcommenter

@DonkeyHotay @whateveryousay  Simply put. If you are confronted by the police you don't run and you don't resist.  Take your lumps or be found innocent.  When you run or resist you risk your life and the lives of those around you.

whateveryousay
whateveryousay topcommenter

@DonkeyHotay @whateveryousay  The kid was on drugs. Being on cocaine already puts someone's heart in danger. The LE that tased him were unaware of his hearts compromised condition.  Had he not been on the devil's dandruff his ticker would have probably kept ticking. This kid rolled the dice and they came up snake eyes.  He was caught in the act of a crime (tagging), he was on cocaine and he ran from the police and resisted.  Will you agree that the kid put himself in this situation?  I'll bet the cops weren't out to kill him. They used a device they have been trained to use as non-lethal.  Should the police just let criminals get away if there might be any confrontation?  When someone resists there is never any certainty if the suspect is armed, dangerous, homicidal or something else.  The cops need to side with caution.  They didn't  use a gun.  They used a device they have been trained to use and educated to be non-lethal.  What would you have done?  Not all cops are good, but not all cops are bad.  

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