Delbert Rodriguez Gutierrez, a 21-year-old street artist died after being run over by a Miami police car during a chase in Wynwood. Delbert, who goes by the name ‘Demz’ succumbed to severe brain injury in Jackson Memorial Hospital. He was ‘caught’ tagging a building on December 9 near Northwest 5th Avenue and 24th Street at 2 am.
Graffiti are common in Wynwood, an art district in Miami, and it is known that artists go into agreements where they are allowed to tag on buildings. However, in Demz’s case it was not clear whether he had the required permission as police claim that he fled as soon as he saw police was approaching him.
Detective Michael Cadavid, who chased Demz in his unmarked patrol car that ran him over, claimed that Demz hid between two cars, jumped out seeing Cadavid, and was accidentally struck under his car.
Sadly, Demz was killed during Art Basel, one of the biggest art fairs in the world. Coincidentally, the incident happened just hours before a protest was held against police brutality in Miami to remember 18-year-old Israel Reefa Hernandez, also a graffiti artist, killed by a Miami Beach police officer in 2013 after he shocked Reefa with a taser.
Miami Police Chief Manuel Orosa called it a tragic accident. “The officer is devastated, and I understand the family is devastated as well,” Orosa said. “It’s unfortunate that the young man tried to run from police”.