Teen tasered by police lived for art, says family

Israel Hernandez died shortly after he was tasered, taken into custody

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – The family of a man who died after he was tasered by police for spray painting graffiti says the 18-year-old lived and breathed art.

"That's all he did, all day long," his sister, Offir Hernandez, told Local 10.

She said her brother wanted to make art that would change the world.

"He was a boy that could dream more than anybody could think. His life was about art."

Miami Beach police officers say Israel Hernandez ran away from them when he was caught spraying a building at 71st Street and Collins Avenue early Tuesday morning.

The police report says officers told Israel to stop running and when he did not comply, he was tasered. Soon after, he began showing signs of medical distress.

Israel was pronounced dead at Mount Sinai Hospital a short time later. An autopsy report is still pending, but his family says he did not have any health conditions that could be blamed for his sudden death.

Offir says Israel led a healthy lifestyle and would often throw away the family's Coca-Cola to make sure they were doing the same.

The teen was just one credit shy of graduating from Miami Beach High School, something he planned to do in the coming months. After that, she says, his only plan was to paint.

Offir also spoke of an exposition he once did where he sold his paintings for just one dollar each.

"He called it the dollar menu," Offir said. "He sold it for just a dollar, just to spread it around." For now, she says her family plans to cherish each of his masterpieces they still have.

"I think anybody who would have been there, would have run too," Offir said. "I don't think anybody would stay."

When asked to comment on whether she believed police went too far, Offir held back tears.

"My brother is dead isn't he? Of course they went too far. He didn't come home yesterday. The police did."

The Miami Beach Police Department issued a statement, saying: "The City of Miami Beach would like to extend their condolences to the family of Israel Hernandez."

Internal Affairs is investigating the incident.

Israel's family says a vigil is scheduled at 7 p.m. at Collins Avenue and 71st Street.

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