Police Abuse

Graffiti Tagging Leads to Instant Death Sentence by Taser for Teen in Miami


From Miami New Times, more on the fatal dangers of modern policing:

An 18-year-old skater was Tasered to death yesterday by Miami Beach Police officers after they caught him tagging a building.

Details about the death are still murky, but what is clear is that Israel Hernandez died before dawn Tuesday morning after cops caught him spray painting near 71st Street and Collins Avenue in Miami Beach. Police have yet to comment on the killing, but an officer near the scene confirmed that cops had fatally Tasered someone. Hernandez's friends on the Miami Beach skate scene are devastated.

"I just cant believe it," says best friend Rafael Lynch, on the verge of tears. "I still have his hat and his board. They still smell like him. It's crazy."

Hernandez and Lynch worked together at MIA Skate Shop in Sunny Isles. Lynch says his friend, a Colombian immigrant who had only recently gotten his papers, was a brilliant and peaceful kid.

"This dude wasn't a regular dude," Lynch says. "He wasn't into partying… I've seen him drink a beer in the past but nothing to get fucked up…

"I loved this person. He was very different. He had a passion for skating and art and many other things. He taught me a lot."

Reason on the dangers of tasers.

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    1. Murika is a Judeo-Christian nation and the Bible says the wages of sin is death!

  2. Is it OK that I punched my computer so hard it reset after reading just the headline here?

    1. I’m considering bolting my laptop to my desk to prevent me from trying to throw it against the wall multiple times a day.

  3. Police have yet to comment on the killing agree on a cover story


  4. Once again, we see that any chance encounter with the police, no matter how minimal the reason, can end up with you dead. Not just hauled off to a holding cell and a booking, but fucking dead. Even if that chance is very, very low, it’s still not one I want to take.

    Avoid the cops at all costs. Because they will not be punished and this will not change.

    1. This I keep repeating to my 19 year old son.

      1. I’ve been debating with myself lately when is the correct age to start teaching my daughter about this kind of thing. She’s currently 4, which is probably too young…

        1. http://www.mediaite.com/tv/the…..se-access/

          I’ve been having the same internal debate.

          My son is 6 and I will give hints to the effect of “the police aren’t always your friend, and they don’t always do the right thing” but only when that door is opened by him. It was important for me to start early because I’ve been battling “the police are your friends” propaganda in school since he was 3. The key, I’ve found, is balance. Don’t harp too much, but don’t let sheer propaganda go unchecked.

    2. Good advice. Note that you can greatly reduce your encounters with police by not breaking the law. It’s hard not to notice that in the vast majority of Reason’s stories about similar events, the dead or injured person is not entirely blameless.

      (This is not to say that tagging or whatever should carry a death penalty, but let’s acknowledge that many of these stories start with some sort of lawbreaking or stupid, anti-social behavior.)

      1. So, if you’ve done nothing wrong, you have nothing to worry about?

        More and more I’m not convinced that “not breaking the law” reduces one’s chances of being fucked with. Cause I continue to see more and more evidence of people who are doing NOTHING to provoke anything get fucked with and/or killed by cops.

        Fuck ’em. My kids know how much I hate cops, and for the most part follow the advice “avoid them by any means possible, cause it’s more likely you’ll end up dead if you don’t.”

        1. So, if you’ve done nothing wrong, you have nothing to worry about?

          I was careful to not say that.

      2. I’ve been pulled over by a cop for going through a yellow light. Which is not even remotely breaking the law. He merely gave me a warning citation and asked me to slow it down when I’m downtown. And he was completely polite. But the point is, you can have an encounter even when not breaking the law. And you never know if it’s going to be that time that something fucked up happens.

        This is also a good reason to frequently check all the lights on your car and make sure they work, and to never let your registration expire or your tags get out of date.

        1. True, as long as you enter the intersection while the light is yellow, you are technically OK. And like I said, you “greatly reduce” your chances of problems, but it’s not a guarantee.

      3. Tell that to the stopped-and-frisked folks in Gotham.

        1. Well *those people* don’t count

          1. Even with that taken into account, my point still stands.

      4. Come on, Papaya. In this day and age, it is impossible to not break the law.

        1. Yeah, there was no way that guy could’ve avoided spray painting someone else’s property, I mean he was going to commit four felonies anyway, right? This is obviously quite appalling, but I think Papaya’s point is a valid one.

          1. I think it’s pretty obvious that R C Dean’s point wasn’t about this case specifically, but rather criticizing the general notion that “don’t break the law and you have nothing to worry about”

            1. I didn’t say you’d have “nothing to worry about,” I said “greatly reduce your encounters with police.”

              1. Well sure. People who regularly commit serious (or even minor) crimes will usually have more run ins with cops. But depending on who you are and where you live, you can come in contact with police pretty often even if you’re not a thug or a crook. Bottom line is (not to defend graffiti) I’m a lot more concerned about cops killing teenagers for graffiti than I am about teenagers doing graffiti

            2. There are so many laws being written on a constant basis, in addition to new bureaucratic regulations being passed en masse, that EVERYONE can be found to be in violation of SOMETHING.

              Case in point: I just heard about how a man in Kentucky has been sentenced to 10 years in prison with no chance of parole for adding a layer of top soil to low spots in his backyard. The EPA was able to classify part of his backyard as a wetland because it apparently rains there during some parts of the year, and they also got him on RICO charges because he discussed the landscaping project with his elderly father before starting the project, which qualified it as a conspiracy.

              The point is, if they want to GET YOU, they will – legally. The only question is which of a million different rules they will use to play “gothcha.”

      5. “Note that you can greatly reduce your encounters with police by not breaking the law.”

        As others have pointed out, that’s far from some guarantee that you’ll be safe. And these days, who doesn’t break the law sometimes? That’s not really a bad thing either. There are a lot of things that are illegal that shouldn’t be, and I’m not going to blame someone for breaking such laws

        Though that doesn’t apply in this case, graffiti is not a crime that merits the death penalty. I don’t really care that Reason writes articles about stories where the victim wasn’t totally blameless. Police abuse can definitely happen even if the person they’re doing it to actually committed a crime. Criticizing the police for such actions doesn’t excuse the victim for what they were doing

        1. Like I said, no guarantees. Yes, there are too many laws and we all break them sometimes. Yes, police abuse can happen, crime or not. But I have been wary of jumping on the “OMG police abuse!” bandwagon for years now, because too many cases turn out to involve some stupid or violent asshole who, to one degree or another, brought it on themselves.

          We don’t know the details of this particular case. I do think tasers are often overused, but sometimes they are used as intended and the victim has some undiagnosed heart condition or something. So I am reserving judgment on this case, except to point out that if he hadn’t been vandalizing someone’s property, this wouldn’t have happened.

      6. I hear what you’re saying. The kid should not have been vandalizing property. Yes, “tagging” is vandalism. It’s wrong, even in libertarian terms. He was damaging property that he did not own.

        I’m not saying he was “asking for it”, but he gave the state sponsored thugs a reason to notice him.

      7. stories start with some sort of lawbreaking or stupid, anti-social behavior.)

        This is true, and I always try to stop and weight that when I read these stories. But so often, even if you take into account someone’s douchebaggery, the reaction by the cops is… overbearing and all too often, illegal.

        Like that college kid who approached a police line during an after-game riot… he’s probably a frat-boy douchebag of the highest order. But when the cops mysteriously delete the critical two minutes where they beat him from the surveillance tape, clearly, they had something to hide. Whoops! Someone ELSE had their own recording and wham, unjustified beating with one cop being convicted of assault.

        Sure, the kid was a douchebag, so quietly arrest him. If he starts flailing, taser him once, hold him down (there were multiple cops– you’re telling me they can’t do this?) cuff him, haul him off. Wailing on him with a nightstick while he lies prone on the ground? Illegal.

        1. This is true, but it’s in the nature of police work that police have to deal with all sorts of crazy and violent people. This means they are always going to suspect that the next perp might be another dangerous one, so it’s just common sense to avoid looking like you might be in that category. You have a right to argue with police, be a jerk, and even a right to only have appropriate force used against you when you run or fight, but it’s foolish to count on a cop never making a mistake or having his emotions get the best of him.

          1. but it’s foolish to count on a cop never making a mistake or having his emotions get the best of him.

            It’s foolish not to think a cop will let his emotions get the best of him. Because it’s probably the default scenario.

          2. “The way she was dressed… that bitch was asking for it…”

            1. Not the same thing. More like pointing out that while it doesn’t excuse rape, it’s stupid to dress sexy, get drunk, and pass out in an alley.

              1. Exactly the same thing.

                But even taking your scenario into account, 100% of the blame still falls on the rapist. And 100% of the blame in police brutality cases falls on the officer. I don’t care what the person did, barring violent resistance, to provoke them.

                1. No, not true. Whatever the practicalities of doing so, you have an absolute right to wear skimpy clothes, get fucked up, and fall asleep in an alley.

                  I don’t approve of cops dispensing justice, but if a tagger gets tased, justice is done.

                2. But even taking your scenario into account, 100% of the blame still falls on the rapist. And 100% of the blame in police brutality cases falls on the officer. I don’t care what the person did, barring violent resistance, to provoke them.

                  Yes, of course. And if you park your Mercedes in a shitty neighborhood 100% of the blame for it getting stolen or vandalized falls on the thieves. That doesn’t mean it wasn’t a stupid idea to park your Mercedes in a shitty neighborhood.

                  1. The distinction here is between what is legally and morally allowed, and what is actually advisable. As libertarians, we should be familiar with that distinction.

                    It is my right to yell angrily at a police officer. It is also my right to cuddle a grizzly cub in front of its mother. I can assume that pretty much the same thing is going to happen to me if I do either of those things. The fact that the police officer will be in the wrong will be a very small comfort.

                    1. The distinction here is between what is legally and morally allowed, and what is actually advisable. As libertarians, we should be familiar with that distinction.

                      Thank you, yes.

          3. Yes, cops are people too. Which means that when they make mistakes, lose their temper, or break the law they should suffer consequences at least as serious as everyone else.

            When this happens, they’ll deserve my sympathy. Until then, no.

      8. Well, actually, no. Most of the stories involve things like no knock raids on the homes of innocents or matters of mistaken identity and such. And like the other poster said – if you’ve done nothing wrong..yada, yada, yada – which anyone in their right mind knows is total horseshit.

        1. I have 100% sympathy with that subset, e.g. the people sitting at home when the SWAT team bursts through the wrong door. I never said that doing nothing wrong would guarantee that this would never happen to you. I tried to make that clear.

          My point was that so many of the stories of police brutality look a bit different when you take into account the actions of the victim. Rodney King is the perfect example: driving dangerously while high, gets in a high-speed chase, fights with cops, and then has the crap beaten out of him. That’s a rather different story from, say, the case in SF some years ago where some cops (including the son of the Chief at the time) basically mugged a guy for his takeout Mexican food.

        2. Yeah, saying ” the vast majority of Reason’s stories about similar events, the dead or injured person is not entirely blameless” was inaccurate at best, disingenuous at worst.

          Listen, speaking of vast majorities, the vast majority of 18 year olds do stupid things, push boundaries, don’t exactly obey all laws, etc.

          Tasing a kid who ran from the cops when caught tagging a boarded up restaurant is unwarranted. What they caught him doing was at most, a misdemeanor. Cost/benefit-wise, it wasn’t worth their time to even pursue him.

      9. Note that you can greatly reduce your encounters with police by not breaking the law.

        Unless your a dog. In which case your mileage may vary.

    3. You’re a fucking idiot.

  5. Just so long as the officers made it home safe at the end of their shift!

    1. Officer safety is paramount.

      Your life is secondary.

  6. Israel Hernandez

    Clearly the name of a white hispanic, so looks like a good takedown given the totality of the circumstances. You weren’t there so you DON’T know what went down. But in my experience this is quite common and supported by CASE law, IMHO IIRC PDQ FuhQ2.



    1. Needs moar powerlifting.

      1. it’s olympic weightlifting while on a surfboard you blogarati!

      2. lol not so much since I tore my pec while making sweet, sweet love to a Morgan Fairchild blowup doll for a local community college art class. my strength is WAY down right now. but WORKING back slowly. I’m only benching 800 right now, so some work to do.

  7. In fairness to the cops, I’d like to hear their side of the story before I condemn it.

    1. snicker

  8. Completely OT:

    Woman tasered for purchasing too many iPhones.


    1. I’m not watching that. I’m pretty calm right now and don’t want to disturb that.

      1. Let the hate flow through you! Episiarch… I AM YOUR FATHER!

        1. NO! I’LL NEVER JOIN YOU!

          (lets go of railing, falls down impossibly huge shaft)

          1. Who’s the cat architectural oddity that won’t cop out when there’s danger all about?

    2. No, it’s clearly related. Good call. GOOD CALL – NO PUN INTENDED! HAHA!

    3. Related but OT:

      Ashton Kutcher is playing Steve Jobs.

      Burn it. Burn it all to the ground. Future generations must never know of the evil we’ve done here.

      1. Yeah, one of the actors I most hate playing one of the most-overrated douchebag bidnesspeople/entrepeneurs whom I also hate.

        I can’t not spend my money to see this movie fast enough.

        1. Whoa, lighten up, Almanian! If it wasn’t for Jobs, might well be looking at a black screen with green, monospaced text.

          1. Wang computers was destroyed by Apple?

          2. Wrong. When Apple was B&W, Commodore was kicking their ass in color upside down, left and right for 1/15th the price.

            1. And with four voices of sound which at the time was un-fucking-precedented.

            2. Yeah, Commodore screens were in color but looked like cheesy crap. The first at something is not always the most influential. Leif Ericson vs. Columbus. Besides, the Apple I predates Commodore. Jobs was hugely influential in too many ways to count.

              1. The stock Apple I didn’t have color or graphics capability. But Jobs didn’t have anything to do with the development of the Apple I, and precious little to do with the technical aspects of the II. The Woz was the genius there.

                Which is not to dismiss Jobs. Jobs was brilliant at marketing his products and himself, devious and ruthless enough to succeed in a cut-throat industry, and able to recognize a good industrial design when he saw it.

      2. That looks fabulous, I can’t wait to not see it.

    4. Sounds like she was being punished for a Soviet era economic crime by the Stasi.

    5. But she was buying iphones so she deserved it. I cut it off when Neil started talking about the chinese stealing technology. I hate that fucking douchbag. Thats a guy that needs a good beat down right there.


    2. Dunphy’s been awfully silent lately with some of these stories. Wonder if he’s having trouble coming up with new excuses. Or maybe the fawning public keeps him from posting.

      1. Probably the troll author is getting tired of that identity and is rolling out a new one soon.

    3. In all serialness, if you had a policing policy in this country that stuck to its proper role and demeanor, a taser is actually a good thing.

      This has been discussed before (I say that a lot… tells you how much progress we’re making) but the taser was supposed to give cops an effective way of dealing with someone who was difficult or resisting, but didn’t require deadly force.

      Like say, a crazy person waving a baseball bat at passers-by on a public street. Or even someone who attacked a cop with his fists because he was drunk or high on drugs.

      Unfortunately, the use of the taser was defined down… so far down it’s now used routinely as a punishment device. Get uppity with a cop? Taser time.

      Tasers aren’t the problem. Cops are. We should be a nation of tasers, instead we’re a nation of cops.

      1. Yep. Taser was supposed to be a less-than-lethal method of ending a violent confrontation. Cops have decided to use it as a compliance tool/torture device.

        1. I don’t see the problem with using a taser for compliance when a person must be taken into custody (ACCORDING TO PROPERTY-RIGHTS LAWS LIBERTARIANS SUPPOSEDLY SUPPORT) and is resisting. Would you prefer that the cops beat him into submission? Or just let go any suspect who prefers not to be arrested?

          I know this makes me “arrogant” but you guys really need to think things through before you start vocally voicing a position.

          1. I don’t see the problem with using a taser for compliance when a person must be taken into custody [derp elided] and is resisting.

            There is a reason SOP is to shout “stop resisting” regardless of the circumstances.

          2. A taser is likely a useful tool in some situations.

            My concern is the obsession the authority community has with this notion of compliance.

            Why is it a given that all humans within a free society have to comply at all times to authority? I vehemently disagree with the common tenant of law enforcement which is that I am immediately void of rights when approached by the typically arrogant officer. They won’t say this but let’s be upfront here- you have as many fucking rights as that cop wishes at that moment.

            The law as it is currently designed forces cops into the personal space of far too many citizens which encourages violence and fear.

      2. A taser is a tool. Whether its good or bad depends on how its used.

        Now, who could have seen it coming that we give cops a tool that incapacitates and inflicts pain, but rarely kills, and they would start using it as a punishment device.

        The idea that it would replace gun usage (the original sales pitch) is ludicrous to anyone with any familiarity with human nature.

        1. I think they were supposed to replace some uses of both guns and nightsticks. I don’t think the pitch was that they would totally replace guns.

          1. Precisely; and it has replaced both of them for the most part, and both of them are far more destructive than a taser in most cases.

            Reason has to get its story straight; either taser use is unusual, or if cops are routinely using tasers for nonchalant reasons, then a couple of deaths a year following their use makes them no more lethal than bathtubs and showers.

            1. if cops are routinely using tasers for nonchalant reasons, then a couple of deaths a year following their use makes them no more lethal than bathtubs and showers.

              Law and order demands that you die for the cause, peasant.

      3. Nailed it.

  9. This brings to mind “DON’T TASE ME, BRO!”

    That dude was a fokin’ idiot. For more reasons than I thought of first time around.

  10. Stories like this, where a sensationalistic headline is paired with a fact-free, speculation hack job of a narrative, is better left to liberal-progressive rags and has no place on reason.com. I can tell you right fucking now that you cannot be “tasered” to death. Not in any conventional way at least. Before the gleeful cop-bashing begins amongst my fellow, open-minded, nonjudgmental, fair-thinking libertarians, perhaps we should ask relevant questions. Did the suspect run, fight, do drugs and so on? Maybe some actual facts would give us just a wee bit of insight other than, “OMG! TEEN TASERED TO DEATH BY FUCKING PIGS!” Yes, cops sometimes abuse their power, the system, and the tools at their disposal. But, as I’ve stated before, cop-bashing is not going to win us any friends to the libertarian cause. Fight the system first and quit acting like a bunch of fucking liberal-progressives using a half assed headline to try to win an argument no one necessarily started.

    1. I’m sorry, which teenage crime deserves being killed by a cop? Was it running? Fighting? Doing drugs? Please explain it to me.

      Otherwise I am sticking with advising my teenage son to continue to avoid cops at every opportunity. They have never earned my respect, only my fear of them as mostly irrational bullies capable of extreme violence with little or no provocation.

      1. I think anyone with half a brain should be able to realize that fighting, running and doing drugs have a bearing on the totality of the circumstances of this kid’s death. But I refuse to argue with an idiot. If you are scared of EVERY cop out there, you are an idiot.

        1. It’s a good thing cops wear identifying “GOOD COP” and “BAD COP” labels so that we can tell the difference in advance.

          1. Do you need “GOOD FOOD” “BAD FOOD” labels on everything you eat? You do know there is some bad food out there that can kill you. I think the odds of you encountering a cop who will kill you for little to no reason is about the same as your odds finding that 1 burger dripping with e-coli death.

            1. What comfort it must be to the dead to know that their deaths were statistical outliers, and that police, like bacteria, are random acts of nature.

              1. You’re the one crying for labels on cops, dipshit. Looking for that perfect, progressive world.

  11. I found an intriguing discrepancy between the quote in the blog post and the article on the website:

    An 18-year-old skater was Tasered to death yesterday by Miami Beach Police officers after they caught him tagging a building.

    is now in the actual link:

    An 18-year-old skater died yesterday after Miami Beach Police officers caught him tagging a building and then Tasered him.

    At first I was going to commend the paper for the phrasing, but now that’s changed to something that gives the way out of “oh, he wasn’t killed by the taser, it was excited delirium syndrome” or some such bullshit.

    1. I take it you performed the autopsy, or have access to the autopsy results?

      He was tased and later he died. Those are the facts we know. He also spray painted and later died, so by your logic the spray paint killed him too.

      1. Death is a part of life. Besides, what difference, at this point, does It make?

  12. And they wonder why so many rejoice every time some stupid cop gets clipped in the line of duty!


  13. LOL. Reason’s left-libertarian transformation is nearing completion; vandalism now becomes “tagging” as the commie organizers like to call it.

    It’s unfortunate that this kid died, but if the police story is correct they didn’t do anything wrong. Libertarians used to believe in property rights a long time ago, you know; I thought that was the reason we had police, to protect rights.

    If the cops are lying they should be prosecuted and jailed, but we don’t know that yet.

    1. I don’t see anything wrong with calling it “tagging,” because that’s far more specific and descriptive than “vandalism.” But it’s true we don’t know the details. Maybe he had an undiagnosed heart condition. Maybe he was on heavy-duty drugs. Maybe he fell and hit his head. Maybe the cop murdered him and is trying to cover it up. We just don’t know.

      1. The story that came out on it was that the kid didn’t die at the scene…he was taken to the police station, went into medical distress there and then died. From what was reported it sounds like the Taser may have aggravated a medical condition.

        As for the justification of the police department’s actions, I don’t really have a problem with the cops going after people who vandalize property…that’s supposed to be their job. I think tasing, or using any sort of weapon, in an instance where it’s just simple vandalism with no threat of violence is overkill and I think they deserve to be held accountable for that. But I’m also leery to consider it “abuse” so much as bad department policy regarding the authorization of force unless more facts come out showing otherwise.

    2. What police story? They haven’t commented on it yet. Sure tagging is and should be illegal, but it doesn’t merit a death sentence. Perhaps the taser was warranted, and he had a heart condition that caused his death, but there’s plenty reason to be skeptical of the police

      1. There are updates at the link in Doherty’s post. The cops said they chased him after catching him vandalizing, and when he was cornered he refused to give himself up.

        1. he refused to give himself up.

          So again, this means instant death?

          1. Scratch that. Forgot it was a taser. Taser /=/ “instant death”.

      2. Sure tagging is and should be illegal, but it doesn’t merit a death sentence.

        Hate to be contrarian dick but how exactly are you different from the “Trayon was just getting skittles” people?

        1. If there’s evidence the kid was beating the cop, you would have a point.

      3. Sure tagging is and should be illegal, but it doesn’t merit a death sentence.

        Sure it does.

        Kill enough of the pricks and the problem goes away.

        1. Did you know that Mussolini made the trains run on time?

    3. Uh, it most certainly IS “tagging”. “Tagging” and “vandalism” aren’t mutually exclusive. Do you even bother to understand what you’re talking about any more?

      1. It’s a matter of emphasis.

        Tagging is what Shepherd Fairy does.

        1. No it doesn’t matter, you’re just a nitpicking retard.

  14. This is scary shit. I’m moving to Singapore.

  15. I realize this post is a day old, but one of the article updates has this…


  16. On my way to work this morning I saw a nice looking, brand new, silver Dodge Charger waiting to pull out onto the road. Suddenly the Dodge Charger starts flashing lights. Turns out he was a cop in an unmarked car who got someone going roughly 5 mph over the speed limit. (Not to mention that in the 50 yard radius that he pulled the guy over the speed limit went from 55 to 45 mph, meaning that this guy was probably in the process of slowing down to the new speed limit.)

    Hell, sometimes they will pull people over and tell them that they were speeding even when they were going the exact speed limit. Often you’ll see a cop car flying down the road around the period of time that most people get off of work, deciding on a victim to fill his ticket quota.

    It’s incredible how many unmarked cars there are around here. There isn’t any crime problem. They just need to keep giving out tickets in order to fund the purchase of even more shiny, new unmarked cars. It’s incredible.

    1. A marked police car has a calming effect on the speed and aggressiveness of drivers on the road; an unmarked police car does not. Therefore, the real reason they exist is for the raising of revenue for the government, and not for the promotion of safety.

    2. Your cop-bashing is duly noted. Butt hurt or the police dept. turn down your applications?

  17. One of the stories I read said this kid was tased in the chest. For those who think he “deserved” to be tased, ok, but proper procedure shouldn’t be applying the taser shot directly to someone’s chest. It is known that tasing directly to the chest can cause cardiac arrest. Is it contrary to the procedure these cops were supposed to follow? Who knows. It should have been.

    BTW, this happened in Florida, too. Not Miami, though. “Don’t break the law/jaywalk and you’ll have nothing to worry about” 🙂 Provide papers when asked, too.


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