Wynwood graffiti writer said he hit campaign sign with 'Reefa' to protest political ad

Kevin Young said a teen's death during a graffiti related arrest should not be politicized


A 29-year-old accused vandal walked out of jail early Sunday morning, after he was arrested for expressing his disdain on a political sign.

Kevin Young talked exclusively to WPLG-Local 10's Tamika Bickham.  He said he defaced Commissioner Francis Suarez's mayoral campaign sign, because he disapproved of his alleged attempt to use the death of an 18-year-old aspiring artist to attack his political opponent.

"It wasn't the smartest thing for me to do," Young said a few hours after he was released from jail. But he also said he had no regrets.

The political sign that Young hit Friday was in the area of Biscayne Boulevard and Northeast 34th Street, near neighborhoods -- that because of modern art collectors and satellite art fairs during Art Basel -- are known around the world for being amicable to street art culture.

Young said he never met Israel Hernandez-Llach, a recent Miami Beach High School graduate who died during a graffiti related arrest, but his death upset him nonetheless.

On August 6, a Miami Beach police officer saw Hernandez-Llach defacing the wall of an empty commercial property on Collins Avenue and 71st Street in Miami Beach. "Reefa" was Hernandez-Llach's graffiti writing pseudonym.

Hernandez-Llach tried to run away from the cops and died during the arrest. Police said a Miami Beach police officer used a Taser on him. The incident remains under investigation.

Suarez, 35, the son of former Miami Mayor Javier Suarez, released a statement after the teen's death. In the statement, he attacked his opponent Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado for an unrelated comment.

Young said he felt Suarez's attempt to politicize "Reefa's" death was "disgusting," "immoral" and "despicable."

Young is not apolitical. On his Facebook page, he liked a page titled "Jeff Benjamin For Mayor of the City Of Miami." Earlier this year, he attended Martin Luther King III's speech at Georgia Tech. And last year, he participated in Occupy Miami protests.

Young was charged with one count of criminal mischief and for an outstanding fugitive Monroe County warrant, police said.

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