Israel Hernandez dies after Miami Beach Police taser him following chase after vandalism

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. (WSVN) -- Detectives are investigating the death of a South Florida teen after police said they were forced to use a Taser gun when he gave chase after being spotted spray painting a building.

Felix Fernandez and Thiago Souza did not want to show their faces on camera, but want to talk about the incident that killed their friend Israel Hernandez. "He was actually well known for his art," said Fernandez.

On Tuesday morning, they were acting as lookouts as Hernandez spray-painted an empty building located on 71st Street and Collins Avenue. Before Hernandez finished the graffiti, Miami Beach Police spotted him, and he took off running.

According to Miami Beach Police, Hernandez hid in a building, jumped a fence and did not cooperate with police orders. When one officer was in close reach he fired his Taser at Hernandez.

According to Hernandez' friends, they said the officers shoved Hernandez against a wall and was then motionless on the ground. "His body was on the floor like motionless, and they were all just laughing, "said Souza.

Fernandez and Souza said the officers were high-fiving and congratulating each other as their friend was in need of medical help. "That made me feel terrible inside. These cops are gruesome, and they don't really care," said Fernandez.

Hernandez was transported to the hospital where doctors pronounced him dead.

While Hernandez' friends blame police for the death, detectives said his cause of death is still unknown.

Miami Beach Police did not want to give an interview but released a statement: "This incident is an open and ongoing investigation. The City of Miami Beach would like to extend their condolences to the family of Israel Hernandez."

Hernandez had just turned 18 years old. He recently graduated from Miami Beach Senior High School.

Miami Beach Police said a toxicology test will be done on Hernandez.


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