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