A week after Israel Hernandez died after being Tasered by Miami Beach police, officials have released police dispatch audio.
The 14-minute long call was released on Wednesday. Hernandez, an award-winning artist, passed away after Miami Beach police officer Jorge Mercado used a Taser to stop him when he allegedly ran away from officers after he was spotted spray-painting an abandoned storefront.
According to police officers on the tape, they pursued the Colombian-born teen for about seven minutes before he was caught. There is no mention of use of the Taser on the police audio.
During the first part of the call, officers are chasing Hernandez, who they describe as a “six foot one mulatto wearing a cream colored shirt.” Halfway through the recording, one officer announces that he is in custody. Moments later, they quickly realized noticed something was wrong with Hernandez
“Hey, you alright?” an officer asks.
Another officer tells the 911 dispatcher that the teen appears to be having a seizure.
“We don’t know if the guy is having a seizure,” he says. The officers then radio for medical help. Toward the end of the recording, the police refer to Hernandez as having had a “cardiac arrest.” He was rushed to the hospital where doctors pronounced him dead.
Hernandez’s death last week has roused much emotion. A Miami funeral home donated funeral services as there was an outpouring of support for the 18-year-old artist. Hundreds gathered to protest his death on Saturday at a rally at the site where he was caught spray painting.
His loved ones gathered to mourn his death at a wake Tuesday. Daniel Turbay, a family friend, told NBC’s Miami station that Hernandez’s mother is weak from grieving.
“When you take a son away from a mother, I don’t think there’s a worse pain than that,” said Turbay.
At the wake, Latino organizations in Florida demanded more answers on the circumstances surrounding Hernandez’s death.
“The main point is to clarify what really happened, because the life of a young person with a lot of promise in the future is now dead,” said Ricardo Tribin of the Colombian Chamber of Commerce.
NBC Miami reported Hernandez’s family has pressed for an independent investigation, which was granted last Saturday. According to the Miami Beach Police Department statement released with the dispatch audio, the cause of death has still not been determined by the Medical Examiner’s Office. The police department is also still awaiting toxicology results.
“We want to make sure we are transparent. Not only to reassure the family, but to reassure the public,” Miami Police Chief Raymond Martinez said. “We are going to do a complete and thorough investigation.”