De Facto Punishment For Graffiti Tagging Derelict Buildings In Miami Beach: Death

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A Miami Beach resident died last week after he ran from police, who’d caught him graffiti tagging an abandoned building and decided to put an end to the ensuing foot pursuit by shooting the offender in the chest with a Taser.

Israel Hernandez-Llach, 18, was pronounced dead at an area emergency room after Miami Beach Police caught up with him and shot him once with the Taser. Friends at the scene said the officers were giving each other high fives and laughing as Hernandez-Llach lay on the ground. There’s no mention of that in the police report and no other way to verify it other than eyewitness accounts.

Despite reports from his friends indicating he was a generally good person, it’s obvious Hernandez-Llach appeared to be violating the law and defacing property that wasn’t his when he elected to run from police, fleeing his alleged target — an abandoned, boarded-up former McDonald’s restaurant. There have also been conflicting reports about his legal status as an immigrant from Columbia.

But Miami Beach police neither knew nor cared about any of that when they gave chase. One family attorney told Reuters on Thursday: “There is no justification for this kind of action for a second-degree misdemeanor,” an offense for which he likely wouldn’t have faced prosecution. A typical punishment for Hernandez-Llach’s alleged crime is a brief stint doing community service.

“I saw four or five cops converge on him and hit him up against the wall,” said Felix Fernandez, one of Hernandez-Llach’s friends, who was on police lookout duty while the graffiti artist worked his magic. “They were making jokes about how he stiffened up when he was tased. They were congratulating each other on how they caught him.”

Miami Beach police are bound by a standard operation procedure that confines their use of Tasers to a “subject  [who] is not in the physical control of the officer yet poses a threat,” or to situations whenever “the officer, based on objective reasonableness, perceives an imminent threat of physical force against himself, other persons, property or self-inflicted injury.”

Hernandez-Llach, who went by the street handle “Reefa” in his graffiti endeavors, also had more serious art aspirations and had gained a small following among the Miami art community as a sculptor and painter. His work had been accepted for showings at area museums and galleries.

“In my 20 years as an art teacher, Israel was one of the most unique and talented students I have ever encountered,’’ Frank O’Hare, Hernandez-Llach’s art teacher at Miami Beach High, told the Miami Herald last week.

The medical examiner’s office is not ruling on a cause of death until the results of an autopsy can be reviewed. Miami Beach police officer Jorge Mercado, who fired the Taser that struck Hernandez-Llach, has been placed on mandatory 72-hour paid leave per departmental guidelines.

Ben Bullard

Reconciling the concept of individual sovereignty with conscientious participation in the modern American political process is a continuing preoccupation for staff writer Ben Bullard. A former community newspaper writer, Bullard has closely observed the manner in which well-meaning small-town politicians and policy makers often accept, unthinkingly, their increasingly marginal role in shaping the quality of their own lives, as well as those of the people whom they serve. He argues that American public policy is plagued by inscrutable and corrupt motives on a national scale, a fundamental problem which individuals, families and communities must strive to solve. This, he argues, can be achieved only as Americans rediscover the principal role each citizen plays in enriching the welfare of our Republic.

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  • independent thinker

    Three day paid vacation then back on the street to look for another graffiti artist to “tag” with his Taser.

    • Whackajig

      I hope that when you are in serious need of help, that, instead of calling the police, you call some little brown illegal to come help you.

      • independent thinker

        Obviously you are one of those who believes the police are always right no matter what their actions. Unlike you I recognize there are police who will push things to the limits of legality and sometimes beyond. They may not be in the majority but they do exist as often reported here on PLD.

  • Harold Olsen

    For something that is supposed to be a nonlethal weapon, Tasers certainly do kill a lot of people.

  • Whackajig

    Illegals commit crimes, illegals run and are tasered, illegals die. Sure seems appropriate to me. Illegals cost us billions of dollars a year and take jobs that should go to Americans. The cost to recharge the taser is higher than the value of the illegals life.

    • ctfrank

      I’ve seen comments by some callous schmucks, but yours tops them all!

    • Deerinwater

      A human life ~ is not to be viewed in such a way as cost , for if it were , you and I would be valued at about .17 cents. ~ and then what sort of world might we live in?

      • two_amber_lamps

        The Chi-comms in Mao’s era believed in dealing with their criminal elements with a bullet to the back of the head, and their family was billed for the bullet. Ironic so many progressives idolize Mao Tse Tung.

        • Deerinwater

          You got that right /left thang ~ going on big time Mister. ~ watch a lot of TV I suppose?

          Why don’t you just speak for yourself and permit others to do like wise?

          • two_amber_lamps

            I suppose you fancy yourself some self-deprecating centrist? Or self-styled defender of individual rights libertarian? Pah.

            I’m sorry you don’t agree that the totalitarianism exhibited by the left is liberty’s antithesis. That being the case, this conversation serves no further purpose.

            http://sd.keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk/i/it-is-what-it-is-2.png

          • Deerinwater

            Haahaha ! ~ well, ~ if having more than just two boxes to place the source of dogma in makes me a self-deprecating centrists , I guess so. ~~ Since you have taken liberty to labeled me so well ~ do we all enjoy this same privilege or is this an exclusive liberty among only the morally superior?

            Oh, ~ you have a purpose, If you can’t amaze us with brilliance you attempt to baffle with your bull$hit and off the wall bias rancor.

            You may leave at your earliest convenience and i will not interfere.

      • Timothy Sullivan

        The world we live in now!

  • ridge runner

    Great control of welfare rolls that keep growing, these dumb fks claim they are broke and need to be fed and sheltered? How in the hell are they buying cans of spray paint, illegal drugs, cigs, $300 sneakers, bling, plus fuel to put in the stolen ride to shoot each other? Good job done well, 1 less puke to inhabit the earth.

    • TheTruthHurtsAsWell

      You’re not only a presumptious [expletive deleted] but you’re also quite inhuman. For one, his family is far from broke & just because you’re an immigrant does not mean that you are on government subsidies (or illegal). If anything this artist most likely would have brought in millions of dollars & tons of tourism to South Floridas flailing economy. His artwork was presented by Congresswoman Ros-Lethinen as well as holding a spot at many art festivals in Miami, of which is exceptional to say the least at 18 years old.

      You do not know his status as an immigrant, you know nothing of his family, you know nothing of his personal life other than the fact that he is Colombian & was caught spray painting a building, neither of these facts can possibly draw any reasonable conclusion as to anything you wrote in your little tirade.

      I do not disagree that he should have & would have faced community service for spray painting an ABANDONED BUILDING, not jail time. Also the cops were reported to have said ‘we’re going to beat the [expletive deleted] out of you if we catch you again’…. Threaded by a ‘peace officer’, without having had a trial? Is this not what all the ppl on this website complain about our government? Over-reaching, over-zealous government workers taking matters into their own hands???

    • TheTruthHurtsAsWell

      Please see my statements above… What have you done at 18 to merit a congressperson recognizing your work? This immigrant probably brought more money via tourism into South Florida before he graduated high school than you have in your entire life

  • Garl Boyd Latham

    Yes, the dead are almost always remembered as “unique” and “talented” and “a generally good person.” Unfortunately, it’s that “generally” part that seems to catch up with ‘em.

    Hernandez-Llach had to know his actions were wrong, since one of his friends was serving “on police lookout duty” while he defaced someone else’s property. He then ran from the police, which ALWAYS makes things worse.

    I’m sorry for ANY needless death, but I refuse to judge the police officers involved. Rationalise if you please, but the bottom line is simple: if Hernandez-Llach had not chosen to break the law, none of this would have happened.

    Garl B. Latham

    • Deerinwater

      True, ~ you don’t have to judge .

      True, a law was broken.

      True, a young soul is now dead.

    • TheTruthHurtsAsWell

      Riiiight. So how many members of congress have supported your work at the young age of 18? Also, a victimless crime, to an abandoned building (I.e. belonging to no one) involving a death needs to be pursued as a meaningless & unreasonable death…

      • Alan

        Because a property is abandoned does not mean it beongs to no one. Someone holds title to the property, even if its the city for lack pf property tax payment.

        • TheTruthHurtsAsWell

          He spray painted on a piece of wood that would have been thrown in the trash upon demolition or re-opening of the building… Common sense seems to fly in the face of idiocy

          • Alan

            I never said what happened was justified, I pointed out that the property was owned by someone and shouldn’t be messed with. Obviously shooting someone for this minor crime was beyond reasonable. Maybe you are the idiot.

      • E. Roman

        There is no such thing as a victimless crime, if there is no victim then there is no crime. And what is going to happen like amost 100% of this “taze” cases is that he was most likely high on something that goes beyond marijuana, and possibly all his buddies also since they did not see several cops arriving to see his masterpiece.

        • TheTruthHurtsAsWell

          Smoking marijuana is victimless. If I grow a plant in my yard and smoke it… There’s no victim. Yet it is a crime, is it not?

          • two_amber_lamps

            Dope’s a “victimless” crime until you wind up with lung/throat cancer and wind up on the public dole at a hospital being treated as an indigent patient. There’s NO FREE LUNCH. Your wretched rationalizations are just that, rationalizations.

            We don’t live in a perfect world, and sometimes equipment like tasers don’t work the way they’re intended. How many people have had reactions to pepper spray and died? It’s a shame but we don’t live in a perfect predictable world. The leftist/socialist utopia is a sham and people like yourself believe the lies. Welcome to reality.

          • TheTruthHurtsAsWell

            Silly… if you can procure one single research article that suggests a causal link between smoking marijuana & throat/lung cancer you are the most prestigious scientist of the century. You’re also assuming I will be on the public dole, which is a far stretch, considering you have no idea who I am. In any case I am neither a leftist nor a socialist.

            Also, are you pulling out cigarettes from peoples mouths because you may have to pay for their healthcare? If you are that would be considered rather authoritarian, quite leftist/socialist in nature, yes?

          • two_amber_lamps

            Honestly I agree with you 100%… if you wanna smoke coffin nails/doobies I could honestly care less.

            Caveat: Divorce health care from government intervention, and let those who abuse themselves reap the result of their stupidity. Also put smokers in their own insurance category so the rest of us don’t have to foot the bill for your self-destructive lifestyle. Now THAT’S libertarian ideals. Besides, government has NO Constitutional authority to dabble in healthcare… and if you believe the expansion clause or “promote the general welfare” or commerce clause do so, you’re obviously in the middle of a 4:20 binge.

            Careful scientific analyses have identified at least 6,000 of the
            same chemicals in marijuana smoke as are present in tobacco (Iversen,
            2008). The main difference between the two is THC in marijuana and nicotine in tobacco. Otherwise, smoked marijuana and smoked tobacco are chemically very similar.Furthermore,
            one of the most potent carcinogens in tobacco smoke, benzo(α)pyrene, is
            present in even greater amounts in marijuana smoke. As marijuana
            smokers frequently inhale and hold the smoke in their lungs, this
            increases the amount of tar deposited in the respiratory system by about
            a factor of four.

            http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-teenage-mind/201102/does-marijuana-cause-cancer

            http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090615095940.htm

            Same cancer-causing compounds in ganga as in cigs, in greater amounts. But you keep telling yourself smoking pot doesnt cause cancer. The THC “magically” offsets the carcinogens? Is that what High Times told you?

          • TheTruthHurtsAsWell

            Never opened the magazine in my life. However, the article you presented is flawed. It only looks at a subgroup of marijuana smokers, I.e. those that smoke ‘joints’… Well of course the health risks are similar! They’re both smoking tobacco! None of the mentioned studies isolated marijuana and identified any conclusive evidence that marijuana and ONLY marijuana is a carcinogen… Next study?

          • two_amber_lamps

            Oh really? Marijuana is/is not a carcinogen? What chemical are you referring to? The THC? Which compound(s) are you indicating is/are inert?

            Riddle me this then Joker… Does inhaling cigarette smoke cause cancer? A simple yes/no will suffice.

            Meanwhile we can play this “impeach your evidence because I said so” all night.

            Please post your bona fides before we proceed further. Degrees, schools attended, dates, etc. Include all documentation/research on the subject, papers relevant to the topic.

            Preferably in PDF format.

          • TheTruthHurtsAsWell

            …regarding the general welfare: http://www.constitution.org/fed/federa41.htm

          • two_amber_lamps

            Thanks, I’ve got a copy of the Hillsdale College Text on the subject sitting on my shelf.

            Which part of the treatise do you mean to reference and/or do you care to make a point?

          • NObama_Holder_Reid_Pelosi_2012

            Generally these days, smokers do have their own insurance category, Smokers do pay higher premiums for healthcare. However, your rank attack on smokers is likely hypocritical in the sense of you are likely eating a twinkie as you are typing your comments and are likely 40+ lbs over weight and perhaps even obese considering that statistics claim that over 80% of Americans are overweight which causes a whole host of health problems which lead to excessive health care costs just as smoking does. So if your weight does not commensurate with your age and height, then those people should have a insurance category of their own as well and pay a higher insurance premium instead of expecting the public to pay for their unhealthy eating habits that cause excessive health care in the form of diabetes, heart attacks, cholesterol blockages various organ failures. Ever organization and business has to accommodate and have extra expenditures because over 80% of the American population is over weight and obese and everyone has to pay to accommodate these peoples individual choice to stuff their face with anything and everything they can get their hands on to force down their throats and then play the “feel sorry for me because I’m fat, its not my fault I have a eating disorder or Its not my fault my body don’t burn the calories”. I have been to 36 Countries for work and lived there to extensive periods. America is by far the fattest population on this planet. Why are these other Countries not having these gland problems and extensive eating disorders that Americans are plagued with? If they do have a disorder, they certainly are not blaming it on places like Mc Donalds.

            I was doing a job in Japan and read on the front pages that a American woman was suing McDonalds because her daughter was obese due to eating their product 5 days a week because the mother didn’t want to take the time to feed her child with healthier food or home cooked food and of course instead of taking personal responsibility for her childs health she thought she would blame everyone else but herself. I later read the case was thrown out as it should have been. It has been common knowledge for decades that cheeseburgers and potatoes such as french fries cause weight gain and high in cholesterol. Yet parent continue to put these foods in front of their kids and frown at those who smoke for doing something that may or may not cause health issues.

          • two_amber_lamps

            “However, your rank attack on smokers”

            Lol… why, because I use the term “coffin nails?”

            http://api.ning.com/files/nVneZuV00OgU-s6vqU2xh9TR5s0Gacs40zV*tNxqQzFsrGaiFfldhbAGXXtkIZVMPFGlMXLCYhZtP5gdBjxEqcO9CjaGxbCk/HurtFeelingsReport.jpg

            Please fill this out and return ASAP….

            Meanwhile, if you somehow construe my earlier reply as “hurtful” or demeaning… lol! Grow some thicker skin.

            Your ignoramus “fat implications” are a joke. Water off a duck’s back.

            Hope you can find some salve for that sand in your cl%t.

            :)

  • allritejack

    Life is about choices. No one makes you break the law. Remember the ‘broken window’ theory.

    • Deerinwater

      chances are ~ you too break some law everyday.

      • http://personalliberty.com/ Bob Livingston

        Dear Deerinwater,

        More than likely as many three felonies are committed each day by everyone. http://personalliberty.com/2010/07/01/three-felonies-a-day-how-the-feds-target-the-innocent-by-harvey-a-silverglate/

        Best wishes,
        Bob

        • Deerinwater

          yes Sir. , I find it hard to make it through a day without knowingly breaking some law. ~ and that’s just the laws I know about and are aware of.

          • Byteme: Truth Hurts

            Strangely there Deerinwater ignorance or the law doesn’t make you innocent and as things are now with all the corruption running rampant in our government from both parties expect to see even less actual Justice for the normal people.

          • Frank Staples

            While I agree with you in theory there is a multitude of laws that literally no one knows anything about…and more are being added every hour of the day. We have gone law crazy in this country and it will catch everyone if we don’t get some common sense.

          • Frank Staples

            While we’re at it…how about the fact that five or six cops were chasing this guy for tagging…why in the hell weren’t they out looking for real crime?? I want my tax paid cops to be just a tad more diligent about looking for “real crime”.

          • Deerinwater

            Making no bones about it ~ Truth Hurts ~ I’m guilt as Cain . ~ if nothing else ~ I’m in “contempt” ~ or “failure to comply” That it was made completely impossible to comply, short of dying is no excuse. ~ To comply would a sentence to the world ~ of the living /dead.

            Don’t think for one minute that you cannot be found in violation of some law or ordnance, even if you don’t bother getting out of bed today.

            Pop up on “the constabulary’s radar and put on a little show and act like your are engaging in capitalist ~ and counter the hours and minutes before new acquaintances start introducing themselves.

            And they will be the first to tell your ignorance of law is no defense.

            The Truth does hurt ~ and explains why lies are found more welcome.

            And why ~ I did love Mexico so ~~ very much. ~

            The Constabulary ~ was affordable. ~

          • speedle24

            We are talking about destroying public or private property here, not speeding. Punks who do this are taking their chances, and have to deal with the consequences. Had the police used a gun for stopping him we have something to talk about. Accidental fatal use of a taser? Nothing to see here folks.

          • NObama_Holder_Reid_Pelosi_2012

            So when your child or niece or nephew throws a baseball or brick through someones window, or swings open a car door and dents the side of the car parked next to you doing property damage to either public or private property, then they are taking their chances and must pay the consequences which may be up to and including death. Good to know that destruction of property can lead to consequences of death and be justified by imbeciles. By your comment, I suppose you would have no problem about someone executing you or family member for doing some kind of property damage whether accidental or intentional, shrug the shoulders and say Well thats the consequences. No if it was your family member you surely would see it to be excessive force. The kid, whether a punk or not and whether illegal or not was not threatening anyones life in anyway to cause physical harm to others. Property destruction can be repaired at the expense of course of the perp or his/her parents. Execution is by all means excessive, but cops know a days find ways to constitute even Jay walking as a crime punishable by brute force and perhaps even death because they had to endanger their life crossing the road after you which posed a threat to their safety.

          • speedle24

            You apparently didn’t read the post Nobama. I said excessive force should not ever be used in these cases (guns). Tasers are not considered to be excessive force. The kid could have just as easily died from a heart condition running from the cops as what happened with the taser. The bottom line is the blame should be placed on the person that instigated the issue in the first place, and that is the kid who decided to deface public property. And he did not do it “accidentally”.

            Get off the police brutality rant NObama because it is a case of crying wolf. There are plenty of cases that law enforcement is abusive and goes over the line. This doesn’t seem to be one, and you marginalize your position by pushing it much as the race baiters marginalize themselves by howling racism every time a minority is killed.

      • allritejack

        Sure, like speeding. I have paid a dozen fines but I don’t bitch about it.

      • two_amber_lamps

        Precisely the way the left would like it. Layers upon layers of forgotten laws and convoluted Machiavellian liberal bureaucracy. If everyone is a felon, then no one can judge.

        Welcome to the libtard justification for sodom and gomorrah on earth. Progressives believe: Do what you like, it’s your right. No personal responsibility.

        BS.

  • ridge runner

    Since humans are animals, and some are worthless theives of always destroying something, just because it gives them a short of dopamine in their skull. the only choice to to put the organism down. When people whine that prisons are lover loaded with a race that constitutes only 12% of the population. The pukes can not quit stealing, B&Eing, killing each other, or trashing their homes, or doing drugs. Some hardwired connection in their skulls, are just there. The communal style of sharing everything including any female, followed by preying on weaker ones in the pack, show what worthless pukes these idoits are. More money and airy fairy feel good crap shure isn’t working. Time for stone smashing and hard labor to change some attitudes, which need big adjustmants.

    • TheTruthHurtsAsWell

      Besides being illiterate, you are also an idiot. Who are you to judge? What superior race or group of persons do you belong to that is infallible, omniscient, omnipotent, O wise & righteous ruler?

      You do justice to the first sentence of your tirade, proving the point that humans are separate from the animal kingdom because of their ability to reason; you are incapable of reason.

      • ridge runner

        People like these tagging morons, don’t respect themselves or any one else’s property. by your pitiful comments sound, you must be a airy fairy libaroid democrat socialist who doesn’t understand true facts on the prison populations make up. Or how these animals get caught caged in prisons.. Most are generational wards of taxpayers and are union teacher educated idiots as well, can not speak English or understand how to work at any job or any type. The George Zimmerman trial enforces my facts.

        • TheTruthHurtsAsWell

          My political leaning have nothing to do with this case. It was an abandoned building. I.e. no ones property… Dictionary.com. “forsaken or deserted: an abandoned building; an abandoned kitten.”

          • NObama_Holder_Reid_Pelosi_2012

            @ the truthhurtsaswell – First off, I highly doubt you have the common sense or ability to know and understand the truth – Secondly, You must be from or are a product of Detroit, where you think that just because a structure is not currently occupied then its up for grabs for squatters or who ever to come onto the property and do what they want. Just because the structure on the property is not occupied doesn’t mean it is “no ones property”! The property is deeded to someone or some entity, whether it be deeded to a person or deeded to a bank as in foreclosure or deeded to an organization by which currently is not occupying the property or operating a business on the property due to the pizz poor economy your messiah has put us in doesn’t mean they don’t intend to reopen the property when they can once again afford to do so and when the economy gets better. By punks trespassing and vandalizing property with the same ignorance as you possess cost someone in the end to clean up after idiots with your mentality. It is no wonder Detroit is in the State of affairs it is in when there are morons like you wondering around freely in the streets and society unsupervised.

  • Frank Zappa

    Well in Singapore they Cane people, but here we just Zap Them to death, kind of like an electronic flyswatter. Tagging a building then getting killed in action. I’LL just bet that IF Cops were allowed to do this more often….Less Crime….Go ZAP E”M……An appropriate Epitaph….You Tag’Em, We Zap E’m. Nice……

  • Deerinwater

    It would be interesting to know what prompted this decision to Taze the subject. Until this is supplied and supported any opinion premature.

    Big city law enforcement the like of Miami , LA ,New York, Houston, Dallas have to be more aggressive to maintain the posture necessary to do the work of maintaining the peace while there is always concerns over heavy-handed overkill.

    It’s sad that anyone might be killed for such a minor offense as defacing property, much less degraded property targeted for demo.

  • jaybird

    To show that the police are overly aggressive most of the time, here is an example- South of Chicago a 95 yr. Veteran in a old folks home was told by his doctor that the surgery they wanted to schedule him for might kill him or he would never leave the hospital. He said he did not want the surgery and the next thing he knows someone has called the EMT’s to take him to the hospital, he would not go so someone called the police. They said he had one of those long shoe horns and was upset. The next think you know is that the riot police with shields are there, the nurses wanted to go back into the room to calm him but the police said no and tased him (did not work) and with a shotgun, shot him with a beanbag which caused internal injuries from which he died. Why wasn’t his family called and if the home could not handle his illness, tell them they would have to move him somewhere else???? How much strength does a 95 yr old have that they were so scared of him??? I always thought that we had a choice about our medical care, when you get to a certain age, why have anything done?? His family wants answers and if it was my family there would be a lawsuit.

    • ridge runner

      Bet him and all his family voted for their home town heroas many times as their fingers could take the strain. Idiots put the socialist democrats in charge , now everyone has to pay the piper for letting this muslim marxist be in control.

    • NObama_Holder_Reid_Pelosi_2012

      agreed, first before I give sympathy these days to people, I need to know their political affiliation and who they voted for recently before I offer any sympathy. Are they a victim of the system or are they a supporter of the system in which has victimized them by which they are not a victim but better known as “collateral Damage” for the liberal cause. If they voted for and previously supported this kind of policies, then they reap what they sow and I have absolutely no sympathy for their ill fated demise. Some call it Karma, in this case negative Karma

  • securityman

    was he tagging it with his gang signs or what. if he started running and had lookouts then there is more to it than what is in this report.

  • Patriot66

    Good, I’m glad he’s dead. I hate graffiti.
    Let this be a good lesson to all the other illegal aliens out there…

  • Timothy Sullivan

    Well at least it doesn’t appear “racist “as both the officer involved and the alleged perpetrator had Hispanic names. Oh wait, the alleged suspects first name was Israel so perhaps the hate-baiters can still come up with some sort of anti-Semitism crap!

  • JUKEBOX

    I thought the gun control advocates have been promoting lasers and bean bags as “NON LETHAL” weapons. Oh well, I guess the police will have to use mashed potatoes or some similar substance to defend themselves with in the future.