Art

Cop Car Runs Down Graffiti Artist; 'For Every Action There's a Reaction,' Says Miami Police Union Prez

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Delbert Rodriguez Gutierrez/Facebook

Michael Brown was stopped for jaywalking and wound up dead. Eric Garner was stopped for selling untaxed cigarettes and wound up dead. Hopefully we won't have to add Delbert Rodriguez Gutierrez to this death list—the 21-year-old graffiti artist is merely in critical condition after being struck by an unmarked cop car pursuing him for tagging a Miami building. 

Update: Florida activist organization The Dream Defenders was reporting earlier today that Gutierrez has been taken off life-support, but this now appears to be false. I have tried reaching out to Gutierrez's family for more information, and will update accordingly.

According to The Miami Herald, Guiterrez—known in the Miami street art world as Demz—was hospitalized with a severe brain injury after the December 5 incident, when Gutierrez was spotted by members of the Miami Police Department's (MPD) "gang unit" while spray-painting a building. Gutierrez fled when he saw the officers, turning a street corner and hiding between two cars. "As Miami police Detective Michael Cadavid turned the corner, police said, Rodriguez jumped out from between the cars and was struck by the detective's vehicle," the Herald reports. 

The black box in Cadavid's vehicle (which measures things such as how fast the car was going) will be inspected, MPD says. Neither Cadavid nor his car had a camera. 

There are some who will argue that Gutierrez's case is not like Brown's or Garner's—that jaywalking and selling cheap cigarettes are victimless crimes that it's silly to spend time chasing, while protecting private property from defacement is a legitimate goal of community policing. But context matters. According to art mag Hyperallergic, "Gutierrez had been tagging a building in the heart of Wynwood, an industrial district that's become a popular destination for graffiti writers and street artists over the last decade. Last week Wynwood was full of street artists in town to create new murals as part of Wynwood Walls, coinciding with Art Basel Miami Beach." 

While some of Art Basel's street artists are sanctioned, the festival attracts lots of art and tagging from unathorized folks, too. In the past few years, MPD has been deploying its gang unit during Art Basel to catch rogue street artists. According to NBC South Florida, it's unclear whether Rodriguez had permission to tag the building. 

anthonyrockonetdf/Instagram

But whatever you think about police pursuing Gutierrez in the first place, there's no disputing that comments from Miami cops afterward show a nasty sort of mindset wherein any outcome is justified if someone disobeys authority. Miami Police Chief Manuel Orosa told the Herald that what happened was tragic, but: "It's unfortunate that the young man tried to run from police."

Miami police union President Javier Ortiz repeated the same sentiment to Gutierrez's mom, Nannette Kaniaris, who said Ortiz offered to buy her dinner after this little lecture. Ortiz later told the Herald he stood by those comments:

"I understand she is extremely upset, and rightfully so, and that her son is in the hospital," Ortiz said by text. "However, for every action there's a reaction. If he would have not been committing a crime and then running from law enforcement, this could have been avoided. Her son is in our prayers." 

Earlier in the day Gutierrez was hit, activists had marched through Wynwood in remembrance of not just Michael Brown and Eric Garner but also 18-year-old Israel "Reefa" Hernandez-Llach, a street artist who was killed by Miami Beach police in 2013. Reefa was spray-painting an abandoned McDonald's building when he was chased down and Tased to death by Beach police. His family has since filed a lawsuit alleging excessive force and failure to provide proper medical attention afterward. 

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  1. Miami Police Chief Manuel Orosa told the Herald that what happened was tragic, but: “It’s unfortunate that the young man tried to run from police.”

    “Ze prizoner was shot while trying to ezcape. That iz all I have.”

  2. Graffit Artist

    Also known as vandal.

    Please try to be honest. I realize it’s extremely difficult because advancing the narrative is more important to you than honesty, but pleas try.

    1. There is nothing dishonest about using a different word to describe an action.

      1. I think VG’s point is valid. Let’s be honest enough about what Gutierrez was doing, and see who’s honest enough to say he should be killed for it.

        1. If we are going to be honest then I need to see the word ALLEGED. Everywhere. Cause in my country one gets charged, then evidence is brought against them, then they get an opportunity to confront their accuser and present evidence in their defense, then a jury of their peers gets to decide the facts of the case and the justness of the law.

          SO, all the fuckwits calling Garner and Brown, and this guy, etc. criminals either don’t think our system of law is correct and are in favor of violating it OR they are being dishonest douche bags.

          Take your pick.

          P.S. Yes I extend to the guys wearing costumes and shiny little badges the courtesy of being ALLEGED in their crimes but unfortunately they never are alleged to have committed crimes.

          1. Point taken.

          2. The courts have a pesumption of innocence.

            I don’t so shove your alleged up your ass.

            1. The courts have a pesumption of innocence.

              This is an example of someone who does not believe in the rule of law in America. On display for everyone. In fact, CODIFIED, all ‘people’ preserve a presumption of innocence. That is what our country was founded on. You don’t like and if you wish to be a crook then fine. Just do it elsewhere. In the US, no matter who you are, you are entitled to the presumption of innocence therefore, until you are convicted in a court of law by a jury of your peers you are only “alleged” to be a criminal.

              1. p.s. Nowhere does the law state the “courts” have a presumption of innocence.

              2. Great, invite an alleged graffiti artist into your neighborhood to practice his art.

                Then go fuck yourself, asshole.

                1. Interesting, the person who wishes to deprive an individual of the presumption of innocence calls another an asshole.

                  While I personally (nor you personally) have any moral or legal obligation to presume one innocent the agents of the state absolutely do. We will never know if he was innocent or guilty. The same for every other person killed by a police officer. Being “honest”, as you were so concerned with, requires that one acknowledge this. So, Wilson did not kill a criminal. Paternelio (sp) did not kill a criminal. This guy did not run over a criminal. They all injured/killed alleged criminals. Since a trial is to determine guilt, per the law that you seem so keen to ignore, we will not know in the first two cases.

                  1. And because Stalin never stood trial for his crimes, he’s only an “alleged” mass murderer.

                    1. In the eyes of US Law yes, that would be correct.

            2. You are right, you personally are under no obligation to presume anyone’s innocence. But you are still a dick for presuming someone’s guilt on very few facts. And to further assume that he deserved to die.
              And your initial criticism was of reason not being honest. I would hope that you think that part of the honest reporting should include the word “alleged” when all you have to go on is the word of some cops.

              1. Fine,

                An alleged vandal ran from the police into traffic and was struck by a car.

                Being a normal person, I take the fact that he ran from the cops as evidence that he was in fact a vandal.

                And, speaking as someone who has been harassed by the cops, running from them is about the stupidiest thing that you can do, unless you have committed some serious crime so that the slim chance of escaping provides you with better odds than the certainty of incarceration.

                1. Depending where you are the chance of escaping can be pretty good. In my youth I ran from police a good number of times and never got caught (not for any kind of vandalism or other real offense, so you know).

                  I’m really not trying to defend the guy or graffiti artists in general. If he was painting things he shouldn’t have been painting and the owners of the property don’t like it, he deserves to be punished. But I don’t believe the police, especially when they injure or kill someone, so I think you presume far too much.

                2. Unless, of course, you have a high probability of escape. The game theory would say that the probability of being caught multiplied by the additional punishment if caught should exceed the punishment if he gives up.

                  So a vandal running from the cops is probably not too bright… unless he has multiple prior offenses and a pocket full of cocaine -OR- he believes escape will be easy.

          3. Except that both Brown and Garner have multiple arrests on their record. Which makes them criminals. Or do you not understand the definition of a criminal?

            Garner had DOZENS of arrests.

            And Brown being ON TAPE. stealing and assaulting the store owner ALSO makes him a criminal. Or do you feel he’s innocent until proven guilty of the things he was ON TAPE doing?

            Stop protecting the guilty! I’m sure there are people being harassed by cops that have zero criminal record. Use your time on them.

    2. So, VG, are you saying the police were justified for using deadly force against a vandal?

      1. Was deadly force used or did he zig when he should have zagged?

        1. Deadly force was clearly used since people die from being struck by cars, like every day.

          1. Clearly used? So if a guy jumps out in front of my car, and he dies, I used deadly force on him? No, he used deadly force on himself.

      2. So Tonio, are you saying the police ran the suspect down (rather than hit him when he unexpectedly jumped in front of their car)? ‘Cuz that’s what it sound like when you talk about “using deadly force.”

        1. Right, and nobody else, no innocent bystander, could possibly be hit by that car. Is that what you’re saying, Seamus, “‘Cuz that’s what it sound like.”

          1. I’m not sure whether you’re trying to be clever or are simply obtuse, but the term “deadly force” implicitly means a willful act, not a negligent or even a reckless one (much less one that is neither negligent nor reckless, which I’m sure is what the cops will argue happened here).

      3. So, VG, are you saying the police were justified for using deadly force against a vandal?

        I didn’t say that but will now.

        Yes if someone is vandalizing my property I reserve the right to use force to stop them from doing so. And if the person is a habitual vandalizer that stylizes themselves as a graffiti artist that would include deadly force.

        1. Well, thanks for being honest even though I had to drag that out of you.

          So, it’s not the habitual vandalism part it’s the self-styled graffiti artist part that demands deadly force. Good to know.

          But in that very hypothetical world, how would you know that this person was an habitual vandal? If you knew that already and the person was still vandalizing it would be because of a failure of the state to arrest and prosecute that person for prior offenses because surely you’d have turned over that security cam tape…

          1. I’ve lived in neighborhoods were people’s life’s work was destroyed by habitual vandals.

            I have no doubt that Cosmos think a Graffiti artist’s murals are kinda cool, especially infrequently when viewed from a save distance.

            The day to day reality is quite different.

            And yes, someone that calls themselves a graffiti artist is an asshole that’s done this hundred or thousands of times.

            Fuck em.

            You love em so much invite them over to destroy your home and community.

            1. Dude, who the fuck is saying that people don’t have the right to protect their property from vandals?

              The aesthetic merits of whatever they do is a completely separate issue from whether it is desirable to have graffiti anywhere.

              Why do some people loose all reason and ability to make distinctions when the subject is graffiti? All of a sudden the rule of law doesn’t matter anymore and it’s OK for cops to kill petty criminals on sight.

              1. Why do some people loose all reason and ability to make distinctions when the subject is graffiti?

                Because a lot of idiots on the left think that it is a harmless activity that’s kind of cool, you know sort of like selling loosies.

                It’s not.

                All of a sudden the rule of law doesn’t matter anymore and it’s OK for cops to kill petty criminals on sight.

                The vandal ran into traffic in flight from the cops.

                That’s not the cops killing him on sight.

                In fact, complaining about the incident leads to the conclusion that you think the cops should have let him go. Cause, you know graffiti’s no big deal.

                1. I don’t believe the cops’ story. That is exactly what they would say if they had done something stupid or criminal in pursuing the guy. Maybe it is what happened. If so, then fine, the guy was an idiot and did it to himself. But I’m not ever going to assume that cops are telling the truth after they kill or injure someone. If they don’t like it, then they should start turning in their buddies for routinely lying whenever it suits them.

        2. The question was whether the police were justified, not the property owner.

          1. The police where pursuing a vandal who ran into traffic and was thereby killed.

            So apparently when the vandal ran from the cops they should have just let him go cause graffit artists are kewl, or something.

            1. No, they should have let him go because driving around at high speeds looking for a very petty criminal is dangerous both to the suspect and to other bystanders. It is not worth the risk to anyone involved. Especially if they know who he is (not sure if that is the case here, but often police know who the local taggers are).

              1. Don’t you mean the alleged taggers?

                And are you endorsing cops bias against specific individuals instead of catching them red-handed?

                1. No, I am saying that if they know who it is, and know where to find him later, it is stupid to engage in a potentially dangerous car chase. Even if you don’t give a shit about the guy being chased, innocent people are killed or injured because of police chases fairly often.

        3. I’m OK with you having that right, but I’m not OK with the police having it.

        4. Actually, under Florida law, someone who enters the curtilege of a building with the intent to commit vandalism is actually committing the “forcible felony” of burglary.

          The forcible felony designation invokes the justified use of deadly force “to prevent the imminent commission”.

          Consequently, under Florida black-letter law, if you look out your window and see some guy painting your home without permission, you can blow his ass away and correctly claim the justified use of deadly force.

          Now, will you be arrested and tried? Probably. The Trayvon Martin shoot was absolutely correct. Zimmerman didn’t do anything wrong. But you saw the circus that resulted.

    3. I was about to comment “cue the cop fellators” but they beat me to it.

    4. What is dishonest? Both graffiti artist and vandal (assuming he was doing what he did against the will of the property owner, which is not clear from the article) are perfectly accurate. Why is there always someone who thinks it has to be one or the other?

      1. People who describe them as graffiti artists are generally apologists for vandalism, and dismissive of property rights.

        1. Is that so? I figured that it goes without saying that a lot of graffiti artists are also guilty of vandalism. The fact that they are making art has nothing to do with the legality or morality of how they do it and the legality of what they do has nothing to do with whether or not they are artists.

  3. He’s lucky to be in the hospital. Running from the cops is apparently a capital offense.

    1. They also say that about shooting the sheriff.

  4. Gutierrez had been tagging a building in the heart of Wynwood, an industrial district that’s become a popular destination for graffiti writers and street artists over the last decade.

    IOW it’s a zone devoid of property rights.

    1. It may also be that at least some of the property owners don’t care or positively allow people to decorate their buildings. One is not obliged to exercise all available property rights. You don’t know, do you? You are just presuming his guilt based on very little.

      1. Yes, obviously the property owners in that area embrace the murals provided by graffiti artists.

        1. No that’s not obvious to me either. But such situations do exist.

          1. The fact that he ran rather than say – It’s OK, man, call the owner and he’ll explain it, leads me to believe this was unauthorized.

            1. Or he had a rational fear that the cops would do their best to fuck him over whether or not he was authorized. Or maybe he had some weed on him. There are lots of reasons why someone might run from the police, many of which are quite reasonable.

              1. No there’s not.

                Running is the absolute dumbest thing that any non criminal can do in an interaction with a cop. (well attacking the cop is dumber but non criminals would’t do that).

                1. The only thing dumber than running from cops is being within firing range of them.

                  1. Heh. How are there people who regularly read this site who think that being innocent and polite is going to protect you from the police once they decide you are their target?

                2. Depends on what you mean by criminal. If someone has some drugs on him or something, yeah he should run if there is a good chance of getting away.

                  And innocence is no protection from getting fucked over by police.

    2. IOW it’s a zone devoid of property rights.

      So… murder away!!! Nothing says liberty like the message “Property rights, or else!”

  5. show a nasty sort of mindset wherein any outcome is justified if someone disobeys authority

    People seem to have this belief that the job of law enforcement is to enforce the law. It’s not. Their job is to enforce their will. To make people obey. So naturally they’re going to have a nasty attitude towards anyone who doesn’t obey. Once a person fails to obey, their life is forfeit because at that point the cop is authorized to use any means necessary, including murder, to force compliance. Even if it is an unlawful order.

    Obey or die.

    Welcome to the land of the free (to do as you are told).

    1. Reading this gave me the strongest sense of deja vu. “for every action there is a reaction”….I know I’ve read that before.

      If you’re interested, the Union Leader did an apologia for the cops in their Sunday edition. I could not stomach reading it when I saw “split second decision” in the sub-headline.

      All the same tropes and cliches get trotted out, every time, and have been for the 50 years I’ve been paying attention. It won’t change.

      1. If everyone would just prostrate themselves when their masters the Police approach, this sort of thing could be avoided.

  6. “…after being struck by an unmarked cop car pursuing him…”

    You guys are starting to sound like a police report. “The officer’s firearm discharged…”

    How does a fucking car pursue anyone? How ’bout “…after an unmarked cop car struck him during a pursuit…”

    1. “an officer hit Gutierrez with his car”

    2. That’s “past exonerative tense,” like this:

      The suspect hit the ground and had trouble breathing. His airway collapsed. He died later. Procedures were followed, and all officers returned home safely.

  7. Michael Brown was stopped for jaywalking and wound up dead.

    Because he was a violent lunatic who for some stupid reason decided to try attack the cop. Did you not see the story posted in the morning links Mrs. Brown about the federal autopsy showing the same result as all the other autopsies?

    Time to let that one go, people. That case is going to be closed and no charges of any kind are going to be filed against Darren Wilson, becuase none should be.

    “Reason” means that you’re supposed to use your brain and actually analyze the facts of every case independently.

    1. OTOH – if jaywalking wasn’t a *crime* then the dude probably wouldn’t have ended up dead and Wilson looking for another job.

      Let’s not forget that most of the bad shit that happens during cop interactions wouldn’t happen if the cops didn’t have cover to stop people.

      Jaywalking
      Seat belts
      Drug use
      Tax evasion

      Are they worth having people killed over?

      1. Michael Brown wasn’t killed for jaywalking, as I think you know. No, jaywalking isn’t worth having people killed over. But attacking people with the apparent intention of taking their gun could well be worth killing people over.

    2. jesus these cop fellators make me sick. how can be spelled out any simpler:

      when: 1 unarmed teen + armed and armored cop sitting in a car = dead teenager

      Nothing else needs to be known. the fucking cop is the bad guy here.

      1. 1 unarmed teen + armed and armored cop sitting in a car = dead teenager

        You’re taking the whole hitting an unarmed citizen with a car thing completely out of context!

        There’s a very considrable chance that the officer(s) isn’t guilty of any crime, just really, really inept.

  8. Am I the only one who finds the cop’s story to be hard to swallow?

    The guy was hiding between two cars, and then leaped out right in front of the cop car? Sure, its possible, but in the absence of a dashcam I struggle to accept it.

    I find an alternative scenario more likely, where the cops were chasing him in their car as he ran down the street and just ran him down.

    Another case where we’ll probably never know what really happened. The callous attitude of the cops is telling, though.

    1. Am I the only one who finds the cop’s story to be hard to swallow?

      Yeah, it’s obviously a lie. But hey. The guy failed to obey. His life was forfeit the moment he disrespected one of the king’s men.

    2. Cops lie. They are good at it and enjoy it. The usual suspects will believe the cops and the rest of us will take note of the kneelers.

      1. *Cops lie. They are good at it and enjoy it.*

        Criminals lie, too. All the time.

        Not sometimes, not occasionally–all the time.

        And you people side with them. All the time.

        What a joke.

        1. *Cops lie. They are good at it and enjoy it.*

          Criminals lie, too. All the time.

          But, you repeat yourself.

    3. Nope…he just leaped out in front of the car seems like an obvious lie.

      1. He’s coming right for us!

    4. I find an alternative scenario more likely, where the cops were chasing him in their car as he ran down the street and just ran him down.

      Or, seeking to evade a vehicular pursuit, the pedestrian cuts between two vehicles where the car cannot follow. The officer, seeking a successful pursuit, accelerates to the opening between the two vehicles and politely imbalances the suspect with a series of gentle kisses delivered via the vehicle’s bumper and fender.

    5. The cop noticed the spray paint can and feared for his life.

    6. I can easily believe he was hiding between parked cars, and then without looking sprang out, and the cop car happened to be there. If you’re crouched between cars, you can’t see the traffic that’s coming; if you’re hidden from them, they’re hidden from you. Doesn’t mean that’s what actually happened, but I find it quite plausible.

  9. …for every action there’s a reaction. If he would have not been committing a crime and then running from law enforcement, this could have been avoided. Her son is in our prayers. Religious nut.

    Romans 13: The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves…For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.

  10. If he would have not been committing a crime and then running from law enforcement, this could have been avoided.

    Or, you know, minding his own business and then running from the police. The real crime here seems to be running from the police. Like dogs chasing cars they are, the only difference is they *know* what they’d do if they caught one.

    1. Like dogs chasing cars they are, the only difference is they *know* what they’d do if they caught one.

      On behalf of dogs everywhere, I strongly resent the comparison of cops to dogs.

  11. “Eric Garner was stopped for selling untaxed cigarettes and wound up dead.”

    Is this true, Ms. Brown? It was my understanding that the cops were called via 911 because there was a fight — a fight which Garner allegedly broke up.

    1. Garner had been busted 20+ times for selling loosies which is why he reacted the way that he did in this instance.

      The proggy, and apparently reason’s, take away is that all of that harassment was fine, the problem is just that one of the cops harassing him this time went too far.

      Looking at the totality of Garner’s interactions with the police should make the inherent injustice of New York’s enforcement of the cigarette tax and licensing law obvious.

      But doing so means admitting that the real problem is that tax and licensing scheme, and not a rogue cop.

      1. The proggy, and apparently reason’s, take away is that all of that harassment was fine

        Um, hasn’t Reason been consistently saying that they stupid laws about tobacco and selling stuff on the street are a big problem because they allow the police to harass peaceful people who are harming no one? And getting criticism for not blaming the whole thing on racist cops?

  12. Sorry, no sympathy for vandals.

    Also, you never run from police.

    1. Well, you’re an asshole.

    2. Laufen Sie nie von der Staatspolize.

    3. Sorry, no sympathy for vandals.

      If they use small leaflets of paper instead of spraypaint, are they still ‘vandals’?

      If the building owners don’t care one way or the other, is a rundown building with a (nearly) dead body in front of it preferred to one that has been tagged? I’d clean spraypaint off my house rather than human blood any day of the week.

      1. no, that would be littering, not vandalism.

        Have you guys never seen the flex your rights video on how to deal with police. You never run from police, that gives them cause for a slew of things right there.

    4. Also, you never run from police.

      Why not?

      because they’ll fuck you up? Then you may as well surrender *all* your rights, right now. Free speech? Watch what you say or you’ll get fucked up. Search and seizure? Move aside prole, or you’ll get fucked up. Self-incrimination? Talk or we’ll break your fingers.

      1. Because no matter how fast you are, you aren’t faster than a bullet.

  13. There are some who will argue that Gutierrez’s case is not like Brown’s or Garner’s?that jaywalking and selling cheap cigarettes are victimless crimes that it’s silly to spend time chasing, while protecting private property from defacement is a legitimate goal of community policing.

    That is what distinguishes this case??! How about the difference between grabbing someone by the neck, throwing him down, & pressing the breath out of him on one hand, and accidentally running over someone who jumps out between parked cars on the other?

    1. The difference between an obvious overreaction caught on video and a cop’s bullshit story with no video (yet) to corroborate it?

      Sorry, but the police have lost the benefit of the doubt with me. So as far as I care, there is no difference between a case of cop overreaction and a case of cop overreaction.

      1. Yeah, no one should believe a thing that cops say (particularly when there is any reason they might need to cover their asses). Until we start seeing police regularly being fired and criminally charged for filing false reports (because we know that that is routine) and cameras at least in every car, I don’t believe a word they say that isn’t corroborated by some other source.

        1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b7t4At6S76M

          Cop runs into the back of a woman’s car – then he and his buddies try to frame her for DUI.

  14. “They took him off life support” can be read two ways. Is he pinin’ for the fjords? Or pushin’ up the daisies?

  15. I think police brutality is well beyond acceptable limits.

    But this sounds like a moron committing a petty crime got himself fucked up.

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