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Courts / Law

Teen Graffiti Artist Dies After Being Tasered By Police

An electrical arc glows at the end of a Taser. (Toby Talbot/AP)
An electrical arc glows at the end of a Taser. (Toby Talbot/AP)

A tragic accident in Miami Beach, Florida, has once again drawn scrutiny on that city’s police force.

Israel Hernandez-Llach was caught spray painting his tag on a boarded-up storefront in Miami Beach and was chased on foot for 10 minutes.

After the 18-year-old was cornered, he ran toward police and was shot by a Taser in the chest.

Witnesses say police celebrated after trapping him, ignoring the fact that he was in distress. He died later that morning at an area hospital.

His death is being condemned by artists and criminal justice activists nationwide.

The officer who used the stun gun has been placed on paid leave.

Tasers are marketed as non-lethal, but Amnesty International reported in February 2012 that at least 500 people in the U.S. have died after being shocked with Tasers either during their arrest or while in jail, since 2001.

The report found Florida had the second-highest number of such deaths.

Miami Herald investigative reporter Julie Knipe Brown has been covering the story and joins us.


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