In Kalief Browder-Like Case, College-Bound Teen At Rikers Rejects Plea Deal

In May 2010, 16-year-old Kalief Browder was accused of stealing a backpack. A faulty identification from the victim and a vicious justice system lead Browder to spending three years of his youth at Rikers Island. He ultimately took his own life due to mental illness triggered by his wrongful imprisonment.

Today, Pedro Hernandez, 18, is facing a trial reminiscent in nature. The Bronx teen is currently incarcerated at Rikers for a crime many are saying he did not commit. Pix 11 reports Hernandez has been arrested in connection to a 2015 shooting, where another teen was shot in the leg. The victim and eight other witnesses say Hernandez did not commit the crime. According to those same witnesses (in recorded statements), the arresting officer threatened them with physical violence if they did not state to investigators that Hernandez did the shooting.

READ: Kalief Browder’s Brother Is Running Against Mayor Bill De Blasio

Hernandez has until September 1, 2017 to raise $250,000 so he can pay his bail and accept a full scholarship to college. As of today, the family has only raised $53,752. Scheduling conflicts by his lawyer and the judge, however, are barring Hernandez’s case from being heard until after Labor Day.

On July 12,  Hernandez could have plead guilty in a deal that would see him on probation for five years. He did not accept, wanting to prove his innocence. “Everybody needs to stand together and say that our kids don’t deserve a plea deal,” said Jessica Perez, Hernandez’s mother. “They deserve a future.”

READ: Jay Z Thanks Viewers Of Kalief Browder Docuseries After New York City Mayor Vows To Close Rikers Island

Read more, here.