As Israel Hernandez lay dying on the ground, Miami Beach Police Officers were more interested in high-fiving one another than providing their captor with emergency medical attention claims a lawsuit filed this week by his family.
The wrongful death suit names the City of Miami Beach and it’s police department-specifically Police Chief Ray Martinez-responsible for the death of the 18-year-old.
Aside from the withholding of medical attention, the complaint goes on to say that the police’s response, knowing that Hernandez posed no threat to the public or officers, was overkill and “used unnecessary , aggressive, excessive and unconstitutional force including a taser” when apprehending the teen.
“Those responsible for Israel’s death will be held responsible, said the family’s Attorney Todd McPharlin at an afternoon press conference.
Miami Beach and the MBPD has so far declined to comment to the media on the lawsuit.
The death is currently under investigation, and the city went as far as asking the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to conduct an independent review of the investigation.
The Miami-Dade Medical Examiner’s Office is also conducting their own investigation, and that report has yet to be released.
Additionally the officer who tasered the teen, Jorge Mercado was put on paid administrative leave.
Mercado was not the officer who wrote up the official police report of the August 6 incident. The report paints a chaotic chase through North Beach where multiple officers chased Hernandez on foot and by vehicle. The report’s narrator writes that he lost visual of the fleeing teen for “two seconds” and then heard over the radio that Hernandez was captured. The last image is of Hernandez sitting on the ground, in custody. There is no official account of the actual capture.
In a memo written by Chief Martinez on the death, Martinez states that the teen “encountered officers face to face at 71st and Harding avenue and ignored Officers’ commands to stop.”
“In order to affect his arrest, an Officer deployed his conducted electrical weapon (TASER),” Martinez wrote in the memo.
A couple of days after the incident, a rally was held at the abandon building where the chase began, Deputy Chief Mark Overton spoke with the SunPost and said that at that point the department was supportive of Mercado.
“What we have seen up to date, the officer was doing his job and we are going to support him on that until we have evidence or information that dictates otherwise,” Overton told the SunPost.
“It’s a tragedy, we are anxious as anyone to find out what happened,” Overton told the SunPost, “what exactly happened to this young man and why he lost his life,”
The Deputy Chief went on to tell the SunPost that the department has used the taser devices for about a decade with no “ill effects,” and that all the officers had been tased as well with no incident.
The suit is looking for damages above $15,000 dollars as the law allows. And is as well looking for punitive damages as a result of Hernandez’s constitutional rights being violated and for the loss of “net accumulations” and medical and funeral expenses.
“We want justice, and support,” Said Offir Hernandez, Israel’s sister. “Please keep the support and give the attention that this case deserves. So no more Israels happen anymore.”