After spending a year in prison, 17 year-old Pedro Hernandez of the Bronx, has been set free. Hernandez was arrested for the shooting of another teenager back in 2015. When he went to trial, instead of taking a plea bargain that would have set him free and allowed him to take advantage of a college scholarship, he maintained his innocence. His bail was set to $250,000 and his trial date pushed back beyond the date he needed to be a free man in order to accept the scholarship, in essence, losing it. Although things looked bleak for him, Hernandez, found a way to become a leader while incarcerated at Rikers Island, mentoring others and completing his studies.
Things changed when his family hired private investigator Manuel Gomez, who uncovered corruption by the arresting officer, who once gambled with dice for one young man’s freedom. Gomez says there are up to 49 other cases tried by the same prosecutor and police officer where corruption has played a role. At one point, a crowdfunding page was set up to help pay for Hernandez’s bail. After hearing the case, a judge dropped his bail to $100,000, at which point the Robert F. Kennedy human rights organization stepped in to post bail. As of this week, the case was dismissed in court. Hernandez is set to return for another robbery charge in the coming weeks. Those charges are also expected to be dismissed.