Stun-gun death of Miami Beach artist to get independent review
MIAMI (Reuters) - The Florida Department of Law Enforcement confirmed in an interview on Friday that it would conduct an independent review of the death of an 18-year-old graffiti artist who died after being electroshocked by a Taser during a police chase in Miami Beach.
Israel Hernandez-Llach died early on Tuesday morning after police caught him spray-painting the wall of a former McDonald's restaurant.
Readers must wade through both the headline and the article's first two paragraphs before there is any hint that this "artist" was really an active vandal. Of course, leave it to the Latin Times to ratchet up the tension with their false reporting.
Israel Hernandez-Llach, 18, Fatally Shot By Miami Police Official For Graffiti Art
Despite closing with sympathetic blather about how, "If a cop wouldn’t have pulled his Glock and aimed at center mass, then he had no business pulling his Taser either", the plainer language of Simple Justice provides a degree of less biased information:
But according to Miami Police Chief Ray Martinez:
Hernández-Llach was confronted by officers about 5 a.m. as he was vandalizing private property, and he fled, leading officers on a foot chase. It ended at 71st and Harding when he was cornered by police and ran toward the officers, ignoring commands to stop.
Whether one views graffiti as an urban art form or criminal vandalism tends to color one’s view of what happened next. It shouldn’t. Regardless of the artistic merit of graffiti, it has two insurmountable counterpoints: first, it’s illegal. Second, the “canvas” is someone else’s property. And it’s not like Hernández-Llach didn’t appreciate either point, as he did his tagging in the wee hours of the morning and had a lookout to warn him. He took his chances in the name of his “art.”
If he wanted to make the argument that tagging was an art form that shouldn’t be criminalized, then he should have been prepared to be caught and argued the merit of his actions. Instead, he fled. That ends the debate. If Hernández-Llach was unwilling to take the weight for what he was doing, then he cannot avail himself of the argument that what he was doing should not be a crime. [emphasis added]
As one contributor to the comments at NPR's "Here and Now" column inquired:
Why "teen graffiti artist" in the headline and not "adult vandal"?
Obviously, no one really wants to admit that Hernandez-Llach was a multiple offender whose repeated vandalism likely resulted in many thousands of dollars in property damage. His own friend testified to the habitual nature of Reefa's criminal activity.
"He did it a lot," said Hernandez-Llach's friend Rafael Lynch, referring to his [Hernandez-Llach's] graffiti. "He wasn't a bad person at all; the cops didn't like him or what he looked like," he added, saying his friend was also an avid skateboarder. [emphasis added]
Of course, trust that Reuters wouldn't allow any nettlesome facts to interfere with their sympathetic portrayal of the vandal.
Martinez said Hernandez-Llach fled after being seen "vandalizing private property" shortly before dawn on Tuesday.
The artist's father, Israel Hernandez-Bandera, called his son's death "an act of barbarism" and an "assassination of a young artist and photographer."
Friends of Hernandez-Llach who witnessed the police chase accused officers of making jokes after using the Taser.
"I saw four or five cops converge on him and hit him up against the wall," said Felix Fernandez, 18.
He said he was standing nearby acting as a lookout for Hernandez-Llach and tried to warn him when he heard police sirens approaching. [emphasis added]
The fact that Reefa had employed Felix Fernandez as a "lookout" demonstrates full cognizance regarding the illegal nature of his activities. That he fled the scene to avoid apprehension further reinforces a justifiable perception of both guilt and culpability.
This is not some angelic little photographer—sculptor—skateboarder. Nor was it the "assassination of a young artist and photographer", no matter what Reefa's father would like to think. Had this dedicated unlicensed exterior redecorator abstained from his illegal activities, there is little doubt that he would not be at room temperature right now. Regardless of whether or not he had any prior arrests on record, Reefa was a repeat offender that most likely had wasted vast amounts of law enforcement time by diverting them from attending to more serious crimes. That alone could have contributed to a degree of totally understandable rage amongst the arresting officers.
Most important of all is to remember this pattern of journalists downplaying criminal behavior in favor of provoking public—especially minority—rage over the death of someone committing a crime. Media adulation of Ashtrayvon Martin is just the iceberg's tip in terms of this consistent de-emphasis of the reasonable expectation that law-abiding citizens and property owners rightfully have with respect to not being at the mercy of every unprincipled junior thug or punk gangster that comes their way.
Tags: Tagger, Vandal, Graffiti, Property Damage, Taser, Accomplice, Media Race Baiting, Media Bias, Media Lies, Israel Hernandez-Llach, Reefa, Punk, Thug, Property Damage, Wasted Police Time To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the Patriot's Corner. Thanks!