What You Should Know About The Miami Beach Taser Death

Aug 13, 2013

The death of 18 year-old graffiti artist Israel Hernandez-Llach has brought renewed attention to the Miami Beach police department.  Police tasered Hernandez on Aug. 6 after he spray-painted the wall of a shuttered McDonald's restaurant on Collins Avenue and 71st Street.   

People have died from being tasered, though according to a 2011 Justice Department report, it is rare.

The problem, says Julie Brown of the Miami Herald, is that the “Miami Beach police have had a history of using excessive force.”

Isabel Rodrey, 18, of Hollywood, weeps as she remembers her friend, Israel Hernandez-Llach, who died Tuesday after a tasering by Miami Beach police. Dozens gathered to mourn Hernandez's death on Saturday, August 10.
Credit Marsha Halper / Miami Herald Staff

Moreover, the department has been slow to release information about questionable conduct.

The MBPD only recently completed its investigation of the 2011 Urban Beach Weekend shooting.  It took the threat of court sanctions before the department released the 911 calls.  That shooting involved police from Miami Beach and Hialeah, who fired over 100 rounds on busy Collins Avenue.  One man was killed after being shot 16 times and three others were wounded. 

And for years, no one could get records of the 2009 shooting of a tourist by MBPD officer Adam Tavss, says Tim Elfrink of the Miami New Times.

“There has been to be a point where someone puts in a reasonable guideline on how long an investigation can remain open,” Elfrink adds, “How long can an investigation stay open?”