Artists Take to Miami Streets to Protest Michael Brown and Israel Hernandez Killings

In the days since a Missouri grand jury declined to indict Darren Wilson, the police officer who shot Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, people in more than 170 American cities have erupted in protest over state violence that disproportionately affects African Americans and other minority groups.

Now a group of artists and activists have organized a vigil in Miami during Art Basel in Miami Beach to demand justice for Brown and a Miami youth named Israel “Reefa” Hernandez, who, unarmed, was killed by police on August 6 of last year.

Hernandez was an aspiring street artist, having received awards for his graffiti. After police found him tagging an abandoned McDonalds, they sent a Taser shock to his chest and he suffered a fatal heart attack.

According to reports at the time, more than a half-dozen police officers chased Hernandez, who fell before being shocked by an officer named Jorge Mercado.

The vigil for the artists will take place in the city’s Wynwood district on Friday evening. It will be hosted by the Miami Committee on State Violence.

Announcing the event on Facebook, the group writes that the vigil will commemorate “Countless others whose cases have not been uplifted will be honored, because this is a systemic issue that—while disproportionately affecting Black bodies— crosses racial boundaries.”

According to the Miami New Times, within several months of Hernandez’s death, at least three other people died after being struck by a Taser.

The Miami Committee on State Violence has enlisted the help of artists in town for the Art Basel festivities to help publicize and attend the event. In a letter sent to supporters, they encouraged artists in town and those who cannot attend to donate works in solidarity with their cause.


Go to artnet News’s Art Basel in Miami page for the latest coverage, including:

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