Wednesday, December 10, 2014 5:40 pm
A Miami graffiti artist struck by a police car while fleeing authorities has died of his injuries, local media reported on Wednesday.
The young man, 21-year old Delbert Rodriguez Gutierrez, who went by the street name “Demz,” was injured Friday while being pursued by police, after having sprayed a building with graffiti, according to the Miami Herald Newspaper.
The newspaper said the street artist was spotted by police gang unit members as he was “tagging” a privately owned building around 2 a.m., police said. When officers began chasing him, Rodriguez fled.
“He turned a street corner, then ducked between two cars to try to get rid of his spray paint can, police said. As Miami police Detective Michael Cadavid turned the corner, police said, Rodriguez jumped out from between the cars and was struck by the detective’s vehicle.”
Police have described the incident as an accident, according to the daily.
The incident occurred Friday near Miami’s Wynwood community, notable for its buildings covered with with artistically-rendered graffiti drawings, as well as its galleries featuring examples of such street art.
Wynwood and other Miami neighborhoods have been swarming with tourists and art aficionados in town for Art Basel, one of the world’s most important contemporary art fairs.
“The officer is devastated, and I understand the family is devastated as well,” said Miami Police Chief Manuel Orosa, quoted by the Herald.
A string of deaths of mostly black males at the hands of police in recent months have ignited protests and debate over the use of deadly force by US law enforcement.