Demand Justice for Teen Slain by Police Taser


Target: Miami Beach Police Chief Raymond A. Martinez

Goal: Demand justice for teenager killed after being tasered by police

Israel Hernandez was an eighteen-year-old award-winning graffiti artist in the Miami Beach area. His work was exhibited locally, and his high school art teacher claimed that Hernandez was one of the most gifted students he had ever had. He would be continuing to create beautiful art today if it hadn’t been for a police officer’s irresponsible and trigger-happy use of a taser on a young man.

Hernandez was spray painting his tag on a boarded-up McDonald’s storefront when Officer Jorge Mercado began chasing him. They ran for about ten minutes before the officer shocked Hernandez in the chest, causing him to collapse. Witnesses at the scene claim that the officer and his partner then high-fived each other and celebrated their catch while the boy lay dying in the street. The officer was given paid administrative leave.

This is more than just a tragic accident. This is the result of a growing reality in America: that police officers and other authorities are given carte blanche to treat citizens with as much unnecessary violence as they wish, with little to no consequences for their actions. Tasers are incredibly dangerous weapons with varying degrees of harm inflicted on individual persons. They are unstable and unpredictable. They should only be used in the direst of circumstances. Catching a young man spray-painting a boarded up McDonald’s is not one of those circumstances.

We must work to prevent these types of tragedies in the future by culling our police force and other law enforcement agencies of men and women who wield their authority recklessly. Countless innocent people would be alive today if it weren’t for the irresponsibility of negligent authority figures with itchy trigger fingers. Please sign this petition to have Jorge Mercado fired, and the use of tasers severely limited in our law enforcement agencies.


Dear Police Chief Raymond A. Martinez,

Recently, one of your officers, Officer Jorge Mercado, recklessly ended a teenager’s life by chasing him through the streets with a taser and shocking him in the chest. Witness accounts then have him celebrating in the street over the dying teenager, without even displaying the responsibility to immediately check the young man’s vital signs. This violent response to a young graffiti artist is outrageously disproportionate and wildly inappropriate.

The officer’s behavior shows a disturbing lack of decorum, respect, and responsibility. He clearly viewed the chase as some sort of game, without even the slightest thought to the dangerous weapon he held in his hand.

We demand that you fire Jorge Mercado immediately, and that charges are brought against him for his childish recklessness that ended a young man’s life. We further demand that you cull the use of tasers in your agency and begin a complete overhaul of your protocol in regards to these weapons. This tragedy is unacceptable, and you must work to ensure nothing like this ever happens again on your watch.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Junglecat via Wikimedia Commons

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  1. renee jeanine ragno says:

    Sorry did I miss something? Award winning artist or not had he not committed an illegal act by vandalizing property, and had he not ran when the policeman happened upon him catching him in the act, there wouldn’t have been a need to tazer him. We wouldn’t be talking about this. During the pursuit what other actions was he responsible for, why did he run, why didn’t he stop. As for high fiving each other, I doubt that. The police officer was simply doing his job and shouldn’t be punished for it nor should there be a law suit. An award winning artist had plenty of material to paint on and no need to graffitti. Were it your property being vandalized I’m sure you would want the culprt caught and brought to justice by a policeman doing his job.

    • Chris J. Robert says:

      I completely agree

    • frank ariganello says:

      yea you missed a lot ass wipe he wasted a life and for what ? graffiti you must be a cop lover or a nazi

    • Why would you use unnessary violence on a child? He was only vandalizing. Think about what you’re saying. I would understand if he had a weapon, or tried to harm the policeman, but he simply ran to evade trouble. Violence is never the answer unless in self-defense. Also, this child died because of this. I don’t think death is the proper punishment for graffiti, that’s a little excessive and cruel if you ask me.

      • This kid was not an artist. No one even knew of him until this happened. He didn’t die for painting graffiti. He died because he ran from police and disobeyed orders to stop. Tax payers and property owners have to pay to clean up the crap this “artist” painted on their properties! Most parents know where their kids are at 5:00AM and teach them right from wrong. Would the Hernandez family like it for their property to be graffitied and vandalized?? Officer Mercado reacted within seconds and did his job. He avoided physical confrontation. There’s is no way for the officer to know if this 18 year old man would’ve had a knife on him or any other non-visible weapon. So the officer has a few complaints on file? What police officer doesn’t? Six complaints in 14 years is considred extremely low. Officer Mercado has over 1,000 arrests on record which is outstanding and has even been named officer of the month. Get the facts!!

        • Sara Florence says:

          Thank you for your comment, but I hope you’re not arguing that only famous artists should be safe from death by police for petty crimes. The violence used against this man was absurdly disproportional… even if he had had a knife on him (which there was absolutely no evidence of) he was running away from police, not towards them. There was no reason for the police to use any kind of force at all. The day when society values property over life is the day we begin to crumble.

          • You should be out there for just one night and put yourself in a police officer’s shoes. Having to be on the defensive all the time and risking your life. Obviously you only see one side.

    • an aspiring artist has been executed .. a talented young man has been taken from us … who KNOWS what this human being would have accomplished!!?? this was “cruel and unusual punishment” not appropriate for the deed … why aren’t they out stopping REAL crimes??!! instead of chasing kids for expressing their creativity??!! there are SO many REAL criminals that deserve to be caught and punished … meanwhile … the cops are chasing a kid for spray painting … why don’t they find who is SLAUGHTERING peoples horses??!!

  2. Barry Appleby says:

    So the police are entitled to use deadly force to areest somebody? What kind of police state are thesw two jerks above who see nothing wrong and express no remorse for an unnecessary death living in. I shall never ever visit the USA ever again. If I need to visit a police state, it will be Russia, since I don’t feel scared walking around in Moscow. No wonder democracy in the USA is dead along with cherished, hardwon freedoms such as due process. Now the Prsident can sanction the use of drones to kill people in other people in other countires on the say-so of unelected intelligence operatives. A fish rots from its head goes the saying, and cops take their cue from their superiors.

  3. Donna Jean Bodnar says:

    The police officer had no need to RUN after the young man who was really decorating, not vandalizing, a boarded up McDonald’s storefront. He was not painting on a building wall of brick, stone or cement. A graffiti artist does art in the streets. That is what his talent/art is all about. The police wanted him to stop. So, he did. Yes, he ran, but he did stop. Regardless, the policeman most likely knew him and where he lived, so why chase for ten minutes and then when “cornered” taser him in his chest. What cruelty. I was under the impression that a taser was never to be pointed directly to the chest. Does anyone know??Remember, he did not steal kill, or rob nor possess a weapon. As I think about this matter, it sounds to me that the policeman was trying to wield his “Power” over him…you do what I say.. or else, no matter what. Once a person has a sense of this “perceived right to have total power over another, he/she is eager to continue to stress his power often without restraint. I do believe this policeman went way beyond reasonable restraint. He deserves a punishment… and not 3 days in jail…

  4. It makes me so angry and sad how ur focussing on the act of a teenager doing grafitty than on the fact that police officers abuse over and over our rights killing whatever moves around them. He was someone he made a mistake but who the fuck are we to determine grafity and running is a good cause to die are u fucking kidding me like u guys when were teenagers did nothing wrong and are gods sample in person or what? I really hope this happens to all of u who think the police has the right to take someones lives for something this stupet or at least to someone close to u cuz u deserve it! I cant believe people is so miserable now a days to feel its ok jst cuz the guy was dng graffity… I really hope it gets to u soon so u see how miserable and abusive they are. They should serve time like any other civilian killing someone is a crime regardless of the act.

  5. shelley schaefer says:

    I can’t believe you have all sided against the police officer. He did his job and it ended badly but his intent was not to kill,it was to stop that young man from continuing to run from the police officer.When a cop does his job why do we turn the tables and say fire him? What kind of a society fires a person when they do their job? Unfortunatly yes if he did high five his partner that was in poor form but it was not to say wow we killed a guy it may have been finally we caught him wearing the cop uniform, shoes and all the equipment. I am very surprised at people and the lack of respect you have for the men and women that keep us safe. And trust me when I say that in no way would that cop have known that graffitti artist was a good guy or a serial killer because the kid didn’t give the officer the chance to ask…he ran.

  6. The use of taser as short distance and aimed at the chest or the back has several times provoked death or serious heart dysfunctions.
    Taser electric gun should be banned or only be used by trained police(wo)men in self defence not at all to attack unarmed people.

  7. This is why ppl don’t trust the law..Instead of serving and protecting the ppl whose tax money pays them,they abuse their power.I actually saw the police tasing a person in philly and they were all laughing about it.That’s fucked up!!!!

  8. GP so u think that policeofficers should see their own people as the enemy at all times??…. No wonder we are most of the time at war if politicians think the same as u do! Disgusting

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