The family of Israel Hernandez-Llach, the teen graffiti artist who died after being tasered by a Miami Beach police officer, will hold a peaceful march on the two-month anniversary of his death.
An internal investigation into the events of Hernandez-Llach’s death has not produced answers, event organizers said.
The march, to be held at 3:30 p.m. Oct 6 on Lincoln Road and Washington Avenue, is to demand justice for the 18-year-old graffiti artists known as Reefa. The family wants responding officer, Jorge Mercado, to be charged and disciplined, according to event organizers.
The family also wants the Miami Beach Police Department to change its policy regarding the use of stun guns. They are asking the state attorney and the Miami Beach City Manager to help their cause.
In August, the Hernandez-Llach family sued the Miami Beach Police Department, claiming the officer used excessive force and failed to give the artist proper medical attention.
On Aug. 6, a Miami Beach police officer caught Hernandez-Llach spray-painting a shuttered McDonald’s in North Beach. After a foot chase, Mercado shot Hernandez-Llach with his department-issued Taser.
The “slight,” unarmed teen was suspected only of committing a “minor” crime, likely a second-degree misdemeanor, according to the suit.
As Hernandez-Llach’s friends have alleged to the media, the suit says officers “high-fived” each other while the teen lay on the ground, “illustrating a reckless disregard for [his] life and safety.” The suit suggests there was a delay in calling paramedics; Hernandez-Llach was taken to Mount Sinai Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.
Miami Beach police have insisted that Mercado, who saw the teen rushing toward him, acted according to department policy in dealing with someone who was resisting arrest.
Police Chief Ray Martinez has said that under department policy, officers may use a stun gun when a person “is not in the physical control of the officer, yet poses a threat.”