On Tuesday August 6th 2013, in the early hours of the Miami morning, an 18 year-old graffiti artist, Israel Hernandez, was tagging the side of an abandoned McDonald’s restaurant with a couple friends–when the cops showed up. A chase immediately ensued, involving more than six officers. Hernandez was tased in the chest, later collapsing, and pronounced dead shortly after.
“During the foot pursuit, the subject encountered officers face to face… and ignored officers’ commands to stop,” MBPD Chief Raymond Martinez said in a statement. “In order to affect his arrest, an officer deployed his conducted electrical weapon (TASER).”
However, based on protocol from the Miami Beach Police, tasers may only be used when “the subject is not in the physical control of the officer yet poses a threat,” or in instances when “the officer, based on objective reasonableness, perceives an imminent threat of physical force against himself, other persons, property or self-inflicted injury.”
With the Miami Beach Police Department now in the midst of multiple internal and external investigations, the Miami Herald reports that one of the officers involved, Jorge Mercado, has just been put on paid leave. The move is also standard practice for the MPBD, who requires officers involved in the use of deadly force be relieved for a minimum 72 hours, “without loss of pay or benefits pending the results of the investigation.”
Stay tuned for updates.