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A 21-year-old graffiti artist who was placed in critical condition after being struck by an unmarked police car in Miami died from his injuries Tuesday.

Delbert Rodriguez Gutierrez, who goes by the street artist name of Demz, was spotted “tagging” a building by police gang unit members. Rodriguez fled when the officers gave chase.

According to the Miami Herald:

He turned a street corner, then ducked between two cars to try to get rid of his spray paint can, police said. 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.

Rodriguez was struck and killed during Art Basel, one of the biggest art fairs in the world. The day the young man was hit by a police car was also the same day a group of local activists held a protest to combat police violence and honor Eric Garner, Michael Brown Jr., and Israel Hernandez-Llach — all men of color who were unarmed when they were killed by white police officers.

Hernandez, also a graffiti artist, was killed in 2013 when a police officer stunned him with a taser. He was just 18-years-old.

Miami Police Chief Manuel Orosa called what happened a tragic accident.

“The officer is devastated, and I understand the family is devastated as well,” Orosa said. “It’s unfortunate that the young man tried to run from police.”

Rodriguez’s mother, Nannette Kaniaris, and other family members sat vigil at his bedside Friday night. She said doctors told her it would take a miracle for her son to recover.

“I don’t know that he’s going to be here tomorrow,” she said.

Kaniaris also said she was told her son “shouldn’t have run from police” by Miami police union President Javier Ortiz. He later offered to buy her dinner.

When asked about his comments, Ortiz said he stands by them:

“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.”

Insensitive much?

Our thoughts and prayers are with Rodriguez’s family during this difficult time.

SOURCE: Miami Herald | PHOTO CREDIT: Handout

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