By now, you know who Kalief Browder was. He was the man who committed suicide after spending years on Rikers Island for a crime that he did not commit (stealing a backpack), without a conviction. As a teen, he was abused by inmates and guards alike during his stay of “The Island” and suffered. Now, there is a new case very similar to Kalief’s story. The subject’s name is Pedro Hernandez and he is a teen being held on Rikers although there is overwhelming evidence that he is innocent.
Pedro was arrested in July of last year for allegedly firing a gun into a crowd. Just like Kalief, Pedro could be bailed out if his family had the substantial funds needed to bail him out, but they understandably do not.
According to the NY Daily News:
Pedro Hernandez was arrested in connection with a 2015 shooting outside a Bronx grocery story in which another teenager was shot in the leg. At least eight eyewitnesses have come forward to say Pedro did not commit this crime. The shooting victim has said it was not Pedro who shot him. In fact, the victim and at least one other witness have all gone on the record to state that NYPD officers — specifically David Terrell — threatened them to name Pedro Hernandez as the shooter.
Terrell was suspended from active duty and stripped of his gun and badge because of an off-duty domestic violence incident — and he was also filmed shooting craps in the Bronx while placing bets on whether he would let a handcuffed suspect free. Since I began researching this story, several more families have claimed Officer Terrell and other officers from the 42nd precinct have arrested their sons on false charges.
Even with Terrell having been disciplined and witnesses denying that Pedro was the culprit, he remains behind bars. Also like Kalief, Pedro was abused behind bars by a guard. Twenty months after assaulting Pedro, Gregory Hyman was arrested and charged with arrested and charged with assault, endangering the welfare of a child, criminal obstruction of breathing and blood circulation, and harassment. The charges came after video of the assault was obtained by a news outlet.
Although Pedro has told his mother, Jessic Perez, that he “wants to die,” he continues to excel behind the wall. He has earned his GED, helped other inmates get their GEDs, been awarded for his academic prowess and has been offered a full scholarship for college by the Posse Foundation. The DA has offered Pedr a plea deal that will release him with time served and five years probation if would plead guilty. Pedro has valiantly refused this deal.
Pedro’s next court date will happen in mid-September. If he is acquitted, he will lose his scholarship, but the city of New York should be ashamed for letting this happen again. Hopefully, Pedro will not go the route Kalief Browder did. Hopefully, when he is released, he will continue to grow and thrive.