Miami Beach Police Department identifies officer who fired taser

Israel Hernandez-Llach died shortly after being tasered by Officer Jorge Mercado

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MIAMI BEACH, Fla. - The Miami Beach Police Department identified the officer who tasered 18-year-old Israel Hernandez-Llach just before his death.

Jorge Mercado, a 13-year veteran, was placed on administrative leave, which is standard procedure when there is a death.

Thomas Lincoln, a 20-year veteran, was also involved in the incident.

Department spokesman Bobby Hernandez said Mercado may remain on administrative leave longer than the customary three days. In 2011, Mercado was suspended after internal affairs closed a case involving drug test procedures.

Mercado tasered Hernandez-Llach after he ran from police when they found him spraying graffiti on a building at 71st Street and Collins Avenue early Tuesday morning.

Officers told Hernandez-Llach to stop running and when he did not comply, he was tasered, according to a police report. Soon after, he began showing signs of medical distress.

Hernandez-Llach was pronounced dead at Mount Sinai Hospital a short time later.

An autopsy was completed Wednesday but was inconclusive. His family said he didn't have any health conditions that could be blamed for his sudden death. Toxicology results are pending.

A vigil for Hernandez-Llach was held Thursday.

The Miami Beach Police Department issued a statement, saying in part: "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."

"We don't want an investigation of the police department conducted by the police department," said Jose Javier Rodriguez, an attorney representing the Hernandez family. "We don't know exactly what happened. We don't know if protocols were followed. There's a lot of unanswered questions."

Rodriguez said he hadn't seen evidence showing him what happened leading up to Hernandez-Llach's death.

"All we know is that an unarmed teenager named Israel Hernandez-Llach died and the family would like to know why," he said.

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