Just after 5am on Tuesday morning, Miami police spotted 18-year-old Israel Hernandez tagging a McDonald's in Miami Beach and demanded that he stop. When he refused to do so and ran away, according to the police statement, the officers chased Hernandez down and used a Taser on the teenager. When Hernandez began to exhibit signs that he was not well, the police took him to Mount Sinai Hospital. By dawn, Hernandez was dead.

Hernandez was "a brilliant and peaceful kid," according to his friend Rafael Lynch, who worked with Hernandez at the MIA Skate Shop in Sunny Isles. "I just can't believe it," Lynch said of his friend's death. "I still have his hat and his board. They still smell like him. It's crazy."

Originally from Colombia, Hernandez had recently gotten his papers. His nickname was "Reefa," and when the police chased him down, the teenager was tagging the letter "R" on a run-down McDonald's. The fast food store was already covered in graffiti when Hernandez wrote his last letter. 

Friends have taped messages on the McDonald's, and the MIA Skate Shop posted an Instagram picture of Hernandez on a skateboard with the caption, "RIP Israel Hernandez. He was always in our stores on one of his crazy self-shaped boards showing love. We lost a creative soul. You will be missed homie."

It is still unclear if police Tasering is responsible for Hernandez's death, and authorities are waiting an autopsy to determine how the teenager died. Still, many have expressed outrage that Hernandez needlessly died for a harmless act.

[via: Miami New Times]