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Delbert Rodriguez Gutierrez (photo via Facebook)

Delbert Rodriguez Gutierrez, a 21-year-old Miami graffiti artist known for his “DEMZ” tag, is in critical condition after City of Miami Police Detective Michael Cadavid hit him with an unmarked car in the early morning hours on December 5.

At 2am on Friday Cadavid spotted Gutierrez tagging a building near the corner of NW 5th Avenue and 24th Street in Wynwood, the Miami Herald reported. According to police the artist fled around a corner and hid between two parked cars when the officer began flashing his lights. Police say that as Cadavid came around the corner in his car, Gutierrez allegedly leaped out in front of him and was struck.

A tag by Delbert Rodriguez Gutierrez (photo by @_PeteyPablito/Twitter) (click to enlarge)

The artist suffered a brain injury and was taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital, where he was listed in critical condition. His family has asked that he be taken off life support.

“I don’t know that he’s going to be here tomorrow,” his mother, Nannette Kaniaris, told the Herald.

“I understand she is extremely upset, and rightfully so, and that her son is in the hospital,” said Javier Ortiz, the president of the Miami Police union. “However, for every action there’s a reaction. If he would have not been committing a crime and then running from law enforcement, this could have been avoided.”

Gutierrez had been tagging a building in the heart of Wynwood, an industrial district that’s become a popular destination for graffiti writers and street artists over the last decade. Last week Wynwood was full of street artists in town to create new murals as part of Wynwood Walls, coinciding with Art Basel Miami Beach. It was also the site of protests on Friday night in remembrance of Israel “Reefa” Hernandez, an 18-year-old street artist who was killed by Miami Beach police in 2013.

A tag by Delbert Rodriguez Gutierrez (photo by @_PeteyPablito/Twitter)

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Benjamin Sutton

Benjamin Sutton is an art critic, journalist, and curator who lives in Park Slope, Brooklyn. His articles on public art, artist documentaries, the tedium of art fairs, James Franco's obsession with Cindy...

29 replies on “Miami Graffiti Artist in Critical Condition After Cop Runs Him Over”

    1. How about we not call you a human and you can go ahead save us all a headache. Make this world a better place and kill yourself… That’s no figure of speech asshole, that’s sincere. Regardless if you disagree with graffiti or not this is someone’s child, boyfriend, family member etc and you are going to say he was of no value?! Eat a fucking dick. At least he has heart, punk ass bitch.

      1. Yikes! Although I agree with you (Brian), your insults lack any sort of
        tact. Telling people to kill themselves via the internet is so troll-ish
        and kind of defeats your point! As to the OP, your rudeness toward the
        potential loss of a unique human life is really tasteless and
        disheartening. Have some respect.

      2. There are too many people in the world to care about all of them. Especially those who do nothing but cause mayhem and trouble for others. The just thing to happen would be for someone to tag this loser’s grave.

        1. Tagging or graffiti is not causing mayhem. And you dear “guest” are the loser for your lack of compassion. Actually, you are an asshole.

      3. Pensacola Florida: PPD patrol car in slow speed chase of a kid on a bicycle. Driver runs the kid over. It was said that the kid had a gun in his pocket. Patrolman was indicted and tried. Citing “fear for his life”, no conviction and he was forced to resign.

    2. Just a human life. I realize that’s not important to the cowardly, sociopathic trolls of the internet, but to actual other human beings, it sure is.

    3. Once again we see that property is valued above human life. The young man did not take a Stone Carving Chisel and Etch his mark into a marble or granite building. He used paint a few thousandths of an inch thick to express himself. His “Expression” can be removed with a few moments of sandblasting, and while I don’t personally do Tagging myself, it’s not hard to understand why those many disenfranchised individuals resort to this form of expressing a social declaration on public or private buildings, billboards, bus stops, etc. I am sure there are effective laws written to “Deal” with this type of so-called crime.

      Secondly for you to make “your” social declaration that this person is of no value demonstrates precisely how you view your fellow man and further gives immediate indication of your extremely limited World View in terms of ART. You don’t get to decide who is or is not an Artist.

      Thirdly, running over a human being as if this was somehow a remedy for a petty crime is horrendously inexcusable. This is not justice, but cold hearted murder and nothing less, and more— a State Crime against yet another person of color!

      Fourthly, we are all connected as one family under God, the Divine or Prime Mover, or however you choose to declare your Spiritual essence, therefore taking the life of another human being, is a Crime Against Humanity. There needs to be some thoughtful perspective here. Treating this person as if he was a dangerous thug running around damaging the lives of his fellows, when that is most certainly not the case, reflects just how far out of bounds Law Enforcement operates with little or no repercussions.

      Now his family is left to suffer for all future days. I would just say this: Take care in your vehemence against your fellow man, for the Universe in which we live is a place of Grand and Exquisite Intelligence. Your very thoughts and actions are to be held to accountability in ways it is evident you do not at all comprehend.

      Here’s hoping you’re Head and Heart learn to Love so that your Spirit will Bloom instead of disappear into utter darkness.

  1. I don’t give a fuck whether you think graffit is good or bad, it is not nor will ever be justification for a COP to HIT someone with their CAR. Some of you need to reevaluate the way you think.

  2. Not an artist… a vandal. Maybe more should be tagged… with cars until the message gets out that this is a crime.

      1. I doubt Jerry would want the talentless schmuck killed but I am sure he would rather see him serving java at a Starbucks than fouling a neighborhood.

  3. No, tagging might not be the highest form of art but this is not an excuse for someone to be hit by a cop car. It’s rather a damming indictment of our society when people seem to imply that this is a proper punishment for some light property damage.
    I’m always surprised by some of the reactionary and backwards comments on art blogs. It’s like listening to some grumpy racist white guy sitting on his porch hating on everyone.
    “to hell with you pesky kids, good riddance”
    chill out grandpa

    1. “Miami Graffiti Artist in Critical Condition After Cop Runs Him Over”. Let’s look at this headline and evaluate. First of all, what ever happened to to term “police officer?”, and “runs him over” in my mind insinuates that malicious intent was involved. Secondly you report that the artist, who was defacing private property, was in between two parked cars when the policeman came around the corner. Perhaps if he had remained there and allowed the officer to park the car and get out to speak to him, he may still be alive. All I am saying is that we should wait and look at all evidence ( was there a video camera in the vehicle?) prior to trying to incite public opinion. Those found guilty should be punished according to the law. just sayin’

      1. “Those found guilty should be punished according to the law” this is exactly why this is sad, a very minor crime “punished” by death.

    2. If the police report is accurate (“Gutierrez allegedly leaped out in front of him and was struck.”) then the driver may not have been able to avoid him. I know we are very suspicious of police, especially after the last couple of months of police involved shootings, but it may be wise to wait until the verdict is in on what actually happened before jumping to conclusions. In any case, if the collision with the tagger could have been avoided, that would have been a much better outcome for everyone than what actually happened. I agree with Aleks that “reactionary and backwards” comments are not justified and that to perceive this incident as “proper punishment” is really uncivilized and not worthy of any human being.

  4. Keeping in mind this is Florida… I’m sure the artist just “leapt” in front of the car and that the officer didn’t aim his car at him to teach him to run away.

  5. “If he would have not been committing a crime and then running from law enforcement, this could have been avoided” said the murderous pig… every killer cop spouts the same shit. Since when is tagging a capital crime, America? Since when did we appoint our police officers to be judge, jury,and executioner? America is an active police state and if you think you’re safe, you’re not thinking.

  6. “Miami Graffiti Artist in Critical Condition After Cop Runs Him Over”. Let’s look at this headline and evaluate. First of all, what ever happened to to term “police officer?”, and “runs him over” in my mind insinuates that malicious intent was involved. Secondly you report that the artist, who was defacing private property, was in between two parked cars when the policeman came around the corner. Perhaps if he had remained there and allowed the officer to park the car and get out to speak to him, he may still be alive. All I am saying is that we should wait and look at all evidence ( was there a video camera in the vehicle?) prior to trying to incite public opinion. Those found guilty should be punished according to the law. just sayin’

  7. Thank the Lord God Almighty for graffiti artists making the world visually tolerable!!!!!!! The edification your exquisite fine art brings to us all is priceless.

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