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Bronx Teen At Rikers Makes Bail "Thanks To The Robert F. Kennedy Organization"

"They came to the rescue." 

After spending a year behind bars at Rikers Island for an alleged shooting that multiple witnesses and the victim said he did not commit, Pedro Hernandez, 17, makes bail thanks to the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights organization.

His mother, Jessica Perez, spoke with us, disclosing he walks a free man Thursday night (July 27). "The RFK organization managed to lower his bail to $100,000, and they're posting his bail tomorrow! I am so thankful RFK came to the rescue!" she said via text message. "While criminal charges are pending, I hope NYPD doesn't harass him and that he can heal mentally."

Hernandez, an honor student months away from attending college on a full scholarship, was arrested in 2016 and accused of shooting a fellow teen in the leg (witnesses have it on record they were coerced into saying he did it). Hernandez endured repeated pressure to accept a guilty plea agreement that would see him on probation for five years, but expressed his desire to prove his innocence in court.

“No one should disappear into a jail as notorious as Rikers Island simply because they can’t afford bail,” said Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights President, Kerry Kennedy. “The clear injustice of Pedro Hernandez’s situation breaks my heart, as it should the hearts of all New Yorkers who desire an effective justice system.”

Hernandez's family shared a statement via Facebook:

As a family we want to extend our feeling of appreciation to every single person who stepped forward, and donated money on this crowdfunding page for Pedro. We are extremely grateful for all the amazing people/families who supported this cause to bring Pedro home and have him here to begin his future and go onto college soon. However, due to the requirements on the bail we later found out that we were being demanded to show proof of where the money was coming from in which was over 3,ooo supporting donors. Each of you would have been asked to show bank statements, and be checked to assure you are "legal". Thanks to Kerry Kennedy, and the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Organization Pedro will be home as soon as tomorrow. They reviewed the injustices happening and personally reached out to me with a helping hand. A wonderful lawyer came to represent the organization and go in front of a judge to remove the surety so they can post the bail. For unknown, yet questionable reasons the prosecutor didn't oppose to them posting bail, and also decided to lower the bail amount to 100,000$. The money donated by you all will go towards first legal assistance for Pedro, because the case still is ongoing. It will also be used towards educational fees for Pedro, as well as to support others in hardships like Pedro's. We will like to keep everyone aware that yes Pedro is standing up for all innocent people being accused of a crime they did not commit. For those who are sitting in jail unable to post an outrageous bail amount, and just in general many others. However he isn't the only one in this harsh reality of our "justice" system, there are many of our youth incarcerated unjustly that don't have a voice. I will like to thank those in our nation that still believe in our constitutional rights, and showed their support. As first stated..... with complete sincerity & gratuity  -The More hopeful family of PedroIt is not necessary that you continue donating!!!! Thank you!

We anticipate further dialogue with Hernandez and his mother as they wait for trial.

UPDATE: 07/27/17 8:33 p.m. EST

Pedro Hernandez has officially been released from Rikers Island. By his side in the photo below are his mother, RFK Young Leaders Manager Sierra Ewert and human rights lawyer Wade McMullen.


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Tashonna Ward: 25-Year-Old Woman Dies After Waiting Hours In ER

The family of the 25-year-old Wisconsin woman are seeking answers following her tragic death earlier in the month. Tashonna Ward, a daycare worker whose newborn daughter died last year, passed away after waiting nearly three hours in the emergency room at Wisconsin's Froedtert Hospital where she sought treatment for chest pains and shortness of breath.

Ward checked into the ER at 4:58 p.m on Jan. 2, per the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. During the wait, hospital staff checked Ward’s heartbeat and she underwent an x-ray, the latter of which showed that she had an enlarged heart.

She was sent back to the waiting room.

"I been here since 4:30 something for shortness of breath, and chest pains for them to just say it’s a two to SIX hour wait to see a [doctor]. Like that is really f***ing ridiculous,” Ward reportedly wrote on Facebook according to NBC News.

Ward left Froedtert to go to another hospital at around 7:30 p.m., but never made it. She collapsed soon after and was rushed back to Froedtert where she was pronounced dead.

“How can you triage someone with shortness of breath and chest pain, and stick them in the lobby?" Ward’s cousin, Andrea Ward, said according to the Journal Sentinel. Andrea launched a Go Fund Me  account to raise funds for her cousin’s funeral.

A rep for Froedtert expressed condolences over Ward's death . “The family is in our thoughts and has our deepest sympathy,” a rep for the hospital said in a statement. “We cannot comment further at this time.”

Ward had previously been told that she developed an enlarged heart during her pregnancy. Her baby died last March after the baby’s umbilical chord wrapped around the its neck.

Although heart disease is the leading cause of death among men women in the U.S., the risks are even higher for black women. According to 2017 statistics, nearly half of black women over the age of 20 battle some type of heart disease.

Black women are also at higher risk of dying from pregnancy complications. While there are several variables at play (like a lack of access to proper health care), the larger issue is that black women are often “undervalued,” noted Dr. Ana Langer, director of the Women and Health Initiative at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in an interview with the American Heart Association.

“[Black women] are not monitored as carefully as white women are,” said Langer. “When they do present with symptoms, they are often dismissed.”

Ward’s family are reportedly scheduled to meet with the hospital next week. The hospital has received numerous online complaints over the years, many of which involve billing issues but also treatment and long wait periods.

A Yelp review  posted last year warned patients not to believe the 23-minute wait time touted at the hospital. The woman and her ailing child left the hospital after waiting for six hours “without being evaluated other than a [five-minute] ‘triage.’”

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Atatiana Jefferson’s Mother Dies In House Where Daughter Was Killed

Yolanda Carr, the mother of Atatiana Jefferson, died in the same house where a Texas cop killed her daughter. A family lawyer announced Carr’s passing on Thursday (Jan. 9).

“We just learned Yolanda Carr, the mother of #AtatianaJefferson, passed away in her home early Thursday morning,” attorney S. Lee Merritt tweeted adding that Jefferson, 28, was killed by a Fort Worth officer “while serving as the caregiver for Ms. Carr who had recently taken ill.”

The family has been left “devastated” by the loss. Further details surrounding Carr's death were unavailable at press time.

“This is why we call police brutality genocide,” Merritt tweeted. “It is akin to a public lynching. It impacts the entire community. It is domestic terrorism under the color of state authority.”

Yolanda’s family is devastated. This is why we call police brutality genocide. It is akin to a public lynching. It impacts the entire community. It is domestic terrorism under the color of state authority.

— S. Lee Merritt, Esq. (@MeritLaw) January 10, 2020

Jefferson, who would've celebrated her 29th birthday this past Thanksgiving, was killed last October by Ft. Worth Sheriff's deputy Aaron Dean. Dean shot Jefferson through the window of her home while she was playing video games with her nephew. Police were responding to a neighbor’s call about a door being open at the location when Dean opened fire on Jefferson. Dean resigned from the department after the fatal shooting. He has since been charged with murder.

A month after Jefferson was killed, her father Marquise Jefferson died of a heart attack, which his spokesperson said was a result of the death of his only child. “I can only sum it up as a broken heart,” said Bruce Carter. “He had to go through so much just to get through the services as a father, and continually doing good to make sure that who he was in their relationship was something he could honor.”

Carr, who was hospitalized after Jefferson was killed, responded to Dean's murder charge in an emotional video recorded from her hospital bed. “We’re going to miss her this Christmas, but I’m so glad that they finally indicted that man on murder because he murdered my baby in my home,” Carr said. “She wasn’t doing anything wrong. My thought was 'Thank you Jesus,' even though I know we have a long way to go at least we got the charge on him.”


Watch Carr's full message below.

The mother of #AtatianaJefferson has died in her home. This is her let public statement from her hospital bed after learning of Aaron Dean’s indictment on the charge of murder.

— S. Lee Merritt, Esq. (@MeritLaw) January 9, 2020

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Harvey Weinstein Charged With Four Counts Of Sexual Assault In Los Angeles

Hollywood filmmaker Harvey Weinstein was indicted Monday (Jan. 6) for raping one woman and sexually assaulting another in Los Angeles. This indictment came the same day that his sex assault trial commenced in New York City, reports the Los Angeles Times. 

TMZ also reported that Weinstein was charged with one felony count each of forcible rape, forcible oral copulation, sexual penetration by use of force, and sexual battery by restraint.

Weinstein faces five felony charges in New York, based on claims by two women, one of whom remains anonymous. However, six women with sexual encounters with Weinstein will testify, according to the New York Times. Jury selection in the case is scheduled to begin Tuesday. One of those witnesses in the case is expected to be The Sopranos actor Annabella Sciorra, who alleges Weinstein raped her inside her Manhattan apartment in 1993, according to the New York Times.

Weinstein has pleaded not guilty and his defense team is expected to try and undermine the women's testimony. His attorneys have also long denied that any non-consensual sex happened.

The former film producer became tied to the MeToo movement after the New York Times and The New Yorker published reports detailing the stories women who said he had sexually assaulted or harassed them. More than 80 women all have since come forward, although many of their allegations fall outside the statute of limitations.

If convicted of all charges, Weinstein faces up to 28 years in state prison.

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