Reader Mail: Taser Death in Miami Beach Is a Disgrace

Chad's Comeback

Not in the HOF: In your profile of Chad Johnson ("Unnecessary Roughness," Michael E. Miller, August 15), you call him "one of the greatest wide receivers in football history." But he's not even close to that kind of company. He's not even in Hall of Fame conversation and can't even be mentioned in the same sentence as Michael Irvin, Jerry Rice, or even Terrell Owens. Does Miller even know about football or at least historical statistics on NFL wide receivers? irvin5

Free the orcas: Chad might want to watch Blackfish, the new documentary about killer whales, before talking about his obsession with the Miami Seaquarium's Lolita. This hasn't been the best of times to associate yourself with orcas kept in captivity. Albert Manduca


Graffiti Death

Tagging is normal: Practically everyone I knew in the early '90s used to tag buildings around Miami the same way that 18-year-old Israel Hernandez was tagging an abandoned McDonald's when police Tasered him and killed him ("Tasered for Tagging," Michael E. Miller, August 15). Now, these same people are in their late 30s and are responsible, law-abiding, educated professionals with families. Tagging is just part of the culture in Miami and part of doing stupid crap when you're a kid. I would hope that my friends and acquaintances weren't Tased to death over it, because then they would not be here today growing old and enjoying the rest of their lives. Is tagging illegal? Sure! But so is speeding and the other minor infractions that every regular joe partakes in occasionally. What's up with all the anti-graffiti rhetoric anyway among people talking about Hernandez's death? Isn't this Miami, where we glorify mainstream street art and where everyone loves to indulge in their once-a-month trip to Wynwood? Natasha Rico

Obey the law: If you don't break the law and don't resist arrest like Hernandez did, this won't happen to you. Quit turning a criminal into a victim. Daniel Convers

Don't blame all cops: Hernandez's death is a disgusting lapse on the part of the Miami Beach Police Department. It was wrong of them to have done this to this young kid. But I don't like how everyone criticizes all cops. Not all cops act like thugs this way, which is how some people claim they are after every terrible story like this. Val Erazo

Just one of many scandals: Is this a terribly unfortunate incident? Absolutely. But the reality of it is that the Miami Beach Police Department has so many other huge scandals that are ongoing — like the cop who drunkenly ran over beachgoers on an ATV or the Memorial Day police shooting that wounded so many innocent bystanders, just to name two — that this is just another thing to tack on. Clemente Morales

Unnecessary Tasering: You're telling me that a bunch of cops couldn't tackle this scrawny kid to the ground without using a Taser on him? If he had nowhere else to go and he was running toward them, couldn't they have hit him and knocked him to the ground without using such a dangerous device? Sebastian Antonio Leon

Hire grandmas instead: Tasers were initially advertised as a way for the police to stop deadly attacks without guns, but I guess that's changed at some point. Are the Miami Beach Police officers so weak and useless they couldn't handle a situation like this — a scrawny, unarmed 18-year-old who was just trying to run away — without using a Taser on him? Maybe they should just hire grandmas to be police instead. Any useless, weak dolt can shoot a Taser. pokalot1000

Police reacted badly: A Taser can contribute to potentially fatal health risks. Yes, Israel Hernandez broke the law by tagging, and yes, he ran away from cops, but that does not mean the police were exercising prudent judgment. Tasering even a gorilla once can incapacitate it to the point of docility and unconsciousness. Obviously, this kid was not much of a threat, which means that either the police used poor judgment or they have no idea how a Taser actually works. Both are unsatisfactory explanations. The issue here is not what the teen was doing but how the officers reacted and what that means for the rest of our citizens. Remember that the motto is to protect and serve. They were not protecting or serving anyone by Tasering a child to death. They were being reckless and imprudent. Please don't try to tell me that this kid was a risk and there was no other way to subdue him, because then that means that our police force is so poorly trained and unskilled that they depend on Tasers to do their jobs. fra2daska18

Bad cops: As someone who grew up in that exact same area, I can tell you that the police in that part of Miami Beach have always been highly volatile. The police officers who patrol that area (during my long time there) were nothing short of thugs themselves. AldosaurusWrecks

 
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