Graffiti artist dies after being struck by cop car
11 December 2014, 07:59
Miami - 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 on Friday while being pursued by police, after having sprayed a building with graffiti, according to the Miami Herald Newspaper.
Police have described the incident as an accident, according to the daily.
The incident occurred on 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 neighbourhoods have been swarming with tourists and art aficionados in town for Art Basel, one of the world's most important contemporary art fairs.
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Officials said Rodriguez was "tagging" a privately owned building when he was spotted by an anti-gang unit, which gave chase.
He was struck by a police vehicle while fleeing, after entering the road from between two parked cars, according to Miami officials.
"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.