A Miami teen died tragically after being chased by police after he was caught spray-painting graffiti on an old McDonald's restaurant in Miami Beach. The 18-year-old graffiti artist was Tasered once cornered by police and was pronounced dead shortly after showing signs of distress and being transferred to a hospital.
The officer who used the Taser on Israel Hernandez has reportedly been placed on leave while the deadly incident is reviewed, but the Florida chapter of the ACLU is calling for an independent investigation into the teen's wrongful death and potential excessive use of force by the officer. There has been no official cause of death yet announced.
There have been more than 500 deaths attributed to Taser use across the United States, according to Amnesty International, with 65 of those occurring in Florida as of 2012. Law enforcement agencies throughout the country have turned to the electronic control device as a supposedly non-lethal alternative to firearms. It's apparent however, that Tasers are in fact deadly weapons.
The human rights watchdog group asserts that police officers should be limited to using Tasers only in instances where a gun would be considered reasonable force. Many believe that the idea of Tasers being a non-lethal weapon has lead to an increase in their use beyond appropriate situations.
Source: The Guardian, "Police officer involved in Miami teenager taser death placed on leave," August 9, 2013