Family of Israel ‘Reefa' Hernandez Demanding Officer's Arrest

The family of a young graffiti artist who died after he was shot by a Miami Beach Police officer's Taser gathered to demand the officer's arrest in his death.

Israel "Reefa" Hernandez died last August after he was shot with the Taser by Officer Jorge Mercado after he was spotted spray painting a storefront. Hernandez, 19, died an hour later at the hospital.

Last week, it was revealed that the medical examiner determined Hernandez died of heart failure from energy device discharge, authorities said. Hernandez's probable manner of death was listed as an accident, and the medical examiner also noted that marijuana was found in Hernandez's system.

Miami Beach Police has insisted Mercado was acting accordingly with department policy. However, the victim’s family has filed an intent to sue the department for excessive force.

The family is also demanding Mercado's arrest, and held a 10:30 a.m. news conference outside the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office to demand his arrest.

"The medical examiner's report is saying what we have known for seven months.  Israel was killed by Jorge Mercado in violation of state law and Miami Beach policy. And Israel's killer has neither spent a day in jail for his crime nor has he lost his job as a police officer," said Jorge Estomba, a member of the Justice for Reefa Committee. "Everyday that goes by in which State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle does not arrest him, is a day in which justice is not served for the people of Miami."

The State Attorney’s Office released a statement Monday saying they are still reviewing the circumstances of Hernandez's death. 

"While the recent Medical Examiner’s conclusion of 'accidental death due to electrical discharge' is an extremely important piece of information, our decision will be based upon the totality of the facts, including all of the reports from the City of Miami Beach Police Department," the statement read. "Once we have received everything from the police department, the State Attorney’s Office will move toward finalizing our report based on the evidence, the testimony of witnesses and the law."

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