Months after the death of local teenage artist Israel "Reefa" Hernandez, friends and supporters are demanding justice. On Tuesday morning a group of protestors targeted Miami Beach police chief Ray Martinez and demanded that officer Jorge Mercado, the man who used the Taser that killed Hernandez, be fired.
See also: Israel Hernandez: Tasered to Death
The group first attended a breakfast meeting at David's Cafe where Martinez was delivering a speech and then took their protest to Miami Beach police headquarters.
"If Ray Martinez wants to leave office with any shred of honor then he should fire Jorge Mercado, who is unfit for service and a danger to society." said Zoe Hughes, a friend of Israel "Reefa" Hernandez, in a statement sent out the Justice for Israel "Reefa" Hernandez Committee.
Eight months ago, Officer Mercado and a group of other officers chased down 18-year-old Hernandez after they spotted the teen leaving a small graffiti mark on an abandoned McDonald's in mid-Beach. After being unable to catch Hernandez, Marcado deployed a Taser. Hernandez died moments later. His death was later attributed to the use of the Taser.
Mercado is on leave while the Florida Department of Law Enforcement conducts an independent review of his actions. Mercado has previously been accused of inappropriately beating and using a Taser on Iraq war veterans.
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A Change.org petition demanding that State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle charge Mercado for his actions has already received nearly 6,000 signatures.
Chief Hernandez, meanwhile, is retiring soon and will likely leave office before the investigations into Reefa's death and Mercado's actions are complete.