Miami Street Artist Hit by Police Car Dies

The 21-year-old suffered a severe brain injury.

Delbert Rodriguez Gutierrez, the Miami graffiti artist who was struck and critically injured by a police car last week in Miami passed away Tuesday night, according to The Miami Herald.

Gutierrez, 21, suffered a severe brain injury after being struck by an unmarked Miami PD car while fleeing from officers who caught him tagging a building at Northwest 5th Avenue and 24th Street in the Wynwood district of Miami on December 5. Police say Gutierrez was hit as he leaped out from between two cars he had momentarily used for cover in order to get rid of his spray paint can.

The incident occurred at the height of Art Basel (see: “Miami Graffiti Artist Struck by Police Car“) and just hours after a large demonstration in support of another street artist, 18-year-old Israel “Reefa” Hernandez, who was killed by  police last year under similar circumstances. Demonstrators were also using the event to protest the police killings of Michael Brown and Eric Garner as part of nationwide effort that’s still ongoing.

Like Hernandez, Gutierrez, who went by the name ‘Demz’, was very popular among the young street artist crowd in Miami and his death is likely to trigger even more outrage directed at Miami police, who on Wednesday expressed their concern and regret over the incident that they say was beyond their control.

“No matter how this incident transpired,” Javier Ortiz, president of the Miami Fraternal Order of Police told NBC 6, “the focus must be that a life was lost and we must keep his family in prayer throughout this difficult time.”

 


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