In a twisted and sad addition to 18-year-old Israel Hernandez-Llach’s death, witnesses say the cops who tasered him high-fived each other in celebration as he lay dying.
Thiago Souza, a friend who was with the Miami graffiti artist that day as his lookout during the tagging session, says he lost sight of his friend as the police chased them. When he caught up, his friend was laying face down on the concrete.
“I didn’t even know they fired a Taser. I thought they just had him down and he was arrested and was just tired,’ Souza said. “I couldn’t believe what I was seeing,’ said Souza, 19. ‘I asked the cops ‘what happened to my friend?'”
What he witnessed next, however, was the insult to the fatal injury. Souza says that the police began to make fun of how they caught the teenage artist.
“He said ‘you should have seen how funny it was when his butt clenched when he got Tased’ he said, and they were all clapping and doing high-fives all over his body. It was almost like they were proud of what they did.”
Earlier this week, Miami Beach Police Chief Raymond Martinez sent his condolences to the teen’s family and said that his department was investigating the incident.
But Llach’s father is calling for an investigation of their own, for what he calls an “act of barbarism and assassination.“
“We do not want Miami Beach police investigating the Miami Beach Police Department. We’re calling for an independent investigation by an outside agency,” said Jose Javier Rodriguez, an attorney for the family and a Florida state legislator.
“There is no justification of this kind of action for a second-degree misdemeanor,” said Jason W. Kreiss, another lawyer representing the family.
Officer Jorge Mercado, a 13-year veteran of the force, has been placed on paid administrative leave – pending an investigation.
The Daily Mail reports that on Thursday evening, a crowd of about 100 people gathered at 71st and Collins to remember Hernandez-Llach. They spray-painted “R.I.P. Israel’’ on the boarded-up building where he had painted his last tag — ‘Reefa’ — and chanted ‘No Justice, no peace.’
We hope his family gets the justice they deserve.
SOURCE: Daily Mail