Friends and family of a teen who died after being tasered while in police custody gathered to say goodbye Wednesday afternoon.
His mother wept openly as she approached her son's burial site.
About 100 mourners attended the funeral for 18-year-old Israel Hernandez-Llach, who was tasered shortly after police say they saw him spraying graffiti on a vacant building at 71st Street and Collins Avenue.
Hernandez-Llach was talented. His art was already getting noticed and was appearing in local galleries and art shows.
But just after 5 a.m. last Tuesday, police say the teen was engaged in vandalism when they spotted him tagging the Miami Beach building. He died after an officer tasered him following a foot pursuit.
In the days that followed, friends and supporters added slogans of support and messages of protest in the form of graffiti at the site where it all began. On Wednesday morning, those messages were removed.
Several investigations are currently under way to determine exactly what led to Hernandez-Llach's death.
When Local 10 asked for a statement regarding the incident, a representative from TASER International responded:
“Until all the facts surrounding this tragic incident are known, it is inappropriate to jump to conclusions on the cause of death. While no use of force is risk free, the American Medical Association concluded that the TASER devices reduce injuries to officers and suspects, reduces the use of lethal force and also found no evidence of cardiac effects, even when the probes are placed over the heart.
“The US DOJ’s five-year study on TASER devices and arrest related deaths indicated that law enforcement need not refrain from using our products when used with accepted national guidelines and appropriate use-of-force policy and that TASER CEWs have a margin of safety as great as or greater than most alternativ
“To date, TASER more than 111,700 lives have been saved from potential death or serious injury using TASER devices and we stand by the peer reviewed medical studies that have shown that the TASER electronic control devices are generally safe and effective.”