Family of tasered teen speaks out about cause of death - WSVN-TV - 7NEWS Miami Ft. Lauderdale News, Weather, Deco

Family of tasered teen speaks out about cause of death

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18-year-old Israel Hernandez 18-year-old Israel Hernandez
Israel's father, also named Israel Hernandez Israel's father, also named Israel Hernandez
Israel's mother, Jacqueline Llach Israel's mother, Jacqueline Llach
Israel's sister, Offir Hernandez Israel's sister, Offir Hernandez

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. (WSVN) -- The family of a South Florida teen who died after he was taken down by a police Taser reacted to new details about what ultimately led to his death.

Israel Hernandez, 18, was tasered by Miami Beach Police officers on Aug. 6, after, police said, he was caught spray painting a shuttered McDonald's at 71st Street and Collins Avenue in North Beach. On Thursday, the 7-month anniversary of his death, the Miami-Dade Medical Examiner confirmed the teen's heart stopped when he was tasered. He then went into cardiac arrest and died.

"We read that it was a heart attack caused by Taser and that it was an accident," said Offir Hernandez, the teen's sister. "How's that even possible? Accident? It had a cause."

Investigators said Miami Beach Police Officer Jorge Mercado tasered Israel after the teen ran away from officers.

"I'm very, very concerned how my son died," said the teen's father, also named Israel Hernandez, through a translator. "My son was not armed, he did not present any danger, in any shape, matter or form to the policemen."

Israel died at Mount Sinai Medical Center about an hour after he was tasered. His body temperature was 102 degrees Fahrenheit.

The Miami Herald reported the Miami-Dade Medical Examiner's results showed his heart stopped from an energy device discharge, and he had nothing in his system but marijuana at the time.

"He was already submitted, he was already sitting down," said Offir.

Israel's parents still cannot talk about their son's death without crying. "My son did not deserve to die," said Jacqueline Llach, Israel's mother, in Spanish as tears streamed down her cheeks. "My son was not representing a threat, and the use of Taser was unnecessary and unjustifiable. I think life has no meaning for them."

They sat in their Bay Harbor Islands apartment surrounded by their son's artwork. "I would sacrifice myself for not seeing my grandkids of that great artist, that great painter," said the elder Israel. "His life was cut short in a very animalistic way."

Surrounded by memories of Israel, his parents are fighting to make sure Taser deaths never happen again. They have filed a lawsuit against the Miami Beach Police Department and the City of Miami Beach claiming law enforcers used excessive force against their son.

It remains unknown how the newly-released information will affect the lawsuit.

The Miami Beach Police Department is not commenting until the full report has been "completed, released, and reviewed."


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