NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A Bronx teenager who has spent the past year on Rikers Island after being accused of a crime he claims he didn’t commit has been released on bail.
Honor student Pedro Hernandez’s family couldn’t afford to get him out, so the non-profit RFK Human Rights posted bail for him.READ MORE: Broadway Returns After Nearly 17-Month Shutdown With 1st Performances Of 'Pass Over'
Hernandez was accused of shooting a man in the leg outside of a Bronx bodega in July, 2016.
Despite witnesses who said Hernandez was not involved in the shooting, he was charged with weapons and firearm possession, as well as assault and reckless endangerment.
“This is part of our ongoing work in New York City on bail reform and closing Rikers Island,” organization President Kerry Kennedy said.READ MORE: New Jersey's Own Athing Mu And Sydney McLaughlin Set Olympic Records
Kennedy told 1010 WINS’ Sonia Rincon that she believes 18-year-old Hernandez is innocent, and that he should be free to start college in a few weeks.
She’s gotten to know Hernandez’s mother.
“Her ambition was to become a police officer, she has enormous respect for police in general and she thinks that there are a few bad officers out there who are targeting people unfairly,” Kennedy said.
As WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond reported, Hernandez finished his high school diploma behind bars, and risked losing a full scholarship if he wasn’t freed.
Hernandez has refused to accept a plea deal. The Bronx DA’s office said the defense has promised witnesses that can prove Hernandez is innocent, but it has yet to hear from them.
The DA has refused to drop charges against Hernandez due to his alleged affiliation with gangs.MORE NEWS: Long Island Bus Driver Charged With DWI, Leaving Scene Of 2 Accidents