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.
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.