Things That Matter

This Bronx Student Won A Full Scholarship To College But Can’t Use It Because He’s In Jail Trying To Prove His Innocence

Credit: WPIX 11

“I want my case dismissed. I’m not pleading guilty for something I did not do.”

A 17-year-old from the Bronx with a full scholarship to college has chosen to stay behind bars, instead of taking a plea deal that would have freed him immediately, so that he can clear his name.

According to WPIX 11 report above, Pedro Hernandez was in the news last year after he was beaten by a correction officer while housed in a detention center. Officer David Terrell, who had Hernandez put in the detention center, is currently being investigated on charges of corruption for allegedly forcing witnesses to say Hernandez was guilty of a shooting. Even the victim of that shooting has told reporters that Hernandez was not the person that shot him, but attorneys are not budging on the case.

The same officer was caught on video “gambling” for someone else’s freedom.

Credit: NBC4 News

According to video and witnesses, Terrell played a dice game while on duty “for the freedom” of someone arrested in the back of his squad car. Officer Terrell has been stripped of his badge and gun pending investigations.

Hernandez has been an exemplary inmate and student, earning his GED, being awarded certificates for leadership and even being awarded a scholarship through Posse, a non-profit that partners with schools to get students scholarships and educational opportunities. The scholarship awarded to Hernandez, according to the family’s crowdfunding page, won’t be granted unless he’s out of jail by September 1st to accept it. At his hearing yesterday, Hernandez’s trial was pushed back until after Labor Day — way after the scholarship deadline.


Update (7/27/17): After raising over $100,000 from a crowdfunding page set up by his family and with interest coming in from all over the world, the judge in the case has reduced the amount of bail needed for Hernandez to be released and as of Thursday his release has been set in motion. In an interview with NY Daily News, Hernandez’s mother said “Justice is being served. Still not fully there, but justice is being served.”


[H/T] NBC4 News

READ: She Didn’t Know Her Rape Led To A Pregnancy. Now, Her Stillbirth Has Landed Her A 30-Year Jail Sentence In El Salvador


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A Ring Camera Captured A Man’s Valiant Effort To Save A Mother And Her Daughters From A House Fire

Things That Matter

A Ring Camera Captured A Man’s Valiant Effort To Save A Mother And Her Daughters From A House Fire

Ring / Facebook

It was the middle of the night and Gladys Castañeda and her daughters were sound asleep as their next-door neighbor’s home went up in flames. Across the road, a neighbor noticed the flames and that the Castañeda’s weren’t outside, watching with the rest of the block. Ty Byers decided to take action and rush across the street towards the flames to alert the Castañeda’s to the impending danger. Ring doorbell video footage shows another neighbor, Amanda Smith, running over, desperately asking if they’ve gotten out yet. Both start yelling and banging on the windows and the door. All the while, Gladys thought someone was trying to break into their home. Using the Ring doorbell, she asked, “Can I help you?”

Once Byers realized she had the two-way speaker technology, he looks straight into the camera to shout, “The house next door to you is on fire! Your house is almost on fire!” Byers waited and helped run each of Glady’s daughters to safety while Gladys got prepared to abandon her home.

The Ring doorbell footage has since gone viral, and Gladys wants to shout Byer’s heroic efforts from all the virtual rooftops.

CREDIT: RING / FACEBOOK

The fire that nearly engulfed her Mesa, Arizona home was sparked in the early hours of July 26, 2019. Byers was new to the neighborhood, and she didn’t know him that well, but he still showed up as a model neighbor citizen. Even though the incident happened last summer, the video has been recirculating. Gladys admits that not even her closest friends knew about the near-death experience because she didn’t want to share the video out of “respect to my neighbors.” Now, she’s had a change of heart. “I didn’t want to put them out there like that but the more I think about it, why shouldn’t I? What they did was amazing,” Castañeda shared to Facebook. Now, she’s asking if people can help her share the video as an example of heroism.

Video footage shows ash blowing in the wind as Byers shouts, “Your house is almost on fire!”

CREDIT: RING / FACEBOOK

Castañeda was too afraid to go to the door, thinking robbers were causing a distraction to break into her home. With two young daughters, she didn’t know what to do but use the two-way speaker system on her smart doorbell to get more information. “Can I help you?” she asked over the intercom. After Byers shouts into the intercom, “The house next to you is on fire! Your house is almost on fire!” Castañeda responds, “Oh, oh, okay. Thank you.” Casteñeda ran out of bed to check on her oldest daughter, Emily and found that her room was already filled with smoke. 

“Without Ring, I don’t think I would ever have opened the door because in my mind I thought they were breaking in,” she told Ring. “When it’s a fire that big, minutes can turn into devastation. Who knows what could have happened?”

Byers then individually rushed each of Castañeda’s daughters over to his garage.

CREDIT: RING / FACEBOOK

Castañeda brought Emily to the front door and found Byers racing back to offer help just as she asked, “Can you help me?” Footage shows Byers sprinting across the street to rush Emily to his home across the street. A few seconds of inactivity go by when we see Byers sprinting back to the Castañeda residence. Castañeda passes over her one-year-old daughter, Victoria, and Byers rushes her over to her sister. Still, Byers races back and opens the door to lean in and ask, “Do you need any more help?” Fully clothed and with her phone in hand, she says, “No, thank you,” and runs across the street to be reunited with her daughters in Byers’ garage.

The Mexican-American mother is grateful for her children’s safety and wants everyone to credit Ty Byers and Ring doorbell for that.

CREDIT: GLADYS CASTAÑEDA / FACEBOOK

Castañeda’s husband had left for work just 25 minutes prior, which illustrates how quickly the fire erupted into a blaze that would completely destroy her neighbor’s home. Meanwhile, her neighbor had no idea his home was even on fire. The Castañeda residence was thankfully untouched by the fire, suffering only minor damages to the garage and some trees.

The Ring footage is now being used by her local fire department to investigate how the fire started.

READ: A Dad Interrogated His Daughter’s Date Using A Ring Camera And We All Feel The Secondhand Embarrassment

Here’s Everything You Need To Know About Mexico’s ‘El Viejo’ Traditions That Ring In The New Year

Culture

Here’s Everything You Need To Know About Mexico’s ‘El Viejo’ Traditions That Ring In The New Year

@iconoveracruz / Twitter

Celebrating the new year in Veracruz, is a time for young people in towns across the coastal Mexican state, to dress up as “viejitos“ or senior citizens, and take to the streets to ask for “aguinaldos” and celebrate a tradition called El Viejo (The Old Man), which is believed to date back to 1875. Here’ what the tradition is all about.

A lively end of year tradition, typical of Veracruz. 

In the state capital, the youngsters parade through the streets to the sound of drums and trumpets to ask for money from drivers and pedestrians they pass along the way. In Veracruz’s Isthmus of Tehuantepec region, young men are the ones who don the costumes of both men and women to dance in the streets for a few coins.

 Typical of ’El Istmo de Tehuantepec’  El Viejo started in 1875 in the Port of Veracruz as a social protest by workers.

 It is said that that the tradition first startred when workers clanked cans and banged on loud drums, asking for Christmas bonuses, called “aguinaldos” in Mexico, outside the home of a rich factory owner who was celebrating his Christmas Eve dinner.

‘El viejo’ was originally inspired by a Korean immigrant who settled in Veracruz.

The tradition lost it’s political aspects and became more what it is today when a Korean man who lived in Veracruz dressed up like the  ‘viejito’ representing the old year in a Japanese almanac that he had. He would parade through the streets on the last day of the year followed by a little child representing the New Year, along with a noisy group of people playing guitars and  güiros, banging pans or setting off  cohetes and singing the following verses asking for their  aguinaldo:

Una limosna  para este pobre viejo, una limosna para este pobre viejo, que ha dejado hijos, que ha dejado hijos, para este año nuevo.

An alm  for this poor old man, An alm for this poor old man, who has left children, who has left children, for this New Year.

Nowadays, the Old Man is usually accompanied by an Old Woman.

The woman carries a baby doll—and the actors are usually university students dressed up with incredible masks and old clothes. They all stop by every store in downtown Xalapa asking for their aguinaldos. It’s a fun tradition where you gladly give your loose  pesos and tostones (50 centavo coin) to this happy crowd ushering in the New Year.