Friday, August 9, 2013
Artist Tasered And Dies
An eighteen year old Miami-based artist died on Tuesday after he was tasered by police. Israel Hernández-Llach was spray painting graffiti on an abandoned McDonald's building when police discovered him "in the act," and then chased him through the streets before cornering him and shooting him in the chest. Two friends who witnessed the incident said that the officers high-fived each other and made jokes about the artist's "butt clenching" from the taser as he died.
Mr. Hernández was a sculptor, writer, photographer, and painter with a number of pieces exhibited in galleries in the Miami area. He was also known as a graffiti artist called "Reefer." Mr. Hernández was completing high school, and had studied art with Herb Kelly at Miami Beach High. Mr. Kelly said it had been an honor to work with Mr. Hernández; he described the teen's work as "cutting edge" with "awesome potential," also saying that the Mr. Hernández was inspired by the work of photographer Carl Juste who he met when Mr. Juste came in to speak to one of his classes. The teen was planning to meet with Mr. Juste to show him some of his work.
The New York Daily News reports that Mr. Hernández had also recently launched his own line of skateboards and worked as an art director for a modeling agency.
Below, interview footage with some of Mr. Hernández' friends, including the two witnesses to the incident, Thiago Souza and Félix Fernández, who describe what they saw.