Charges dropped against student who maintained innocence at Rikers

Posted: Updated:

The Bronx District Attorney's Office Wednesday dismissed the indictment against Pedro Hernandez, an honor roll student who was jailed at Rikers Island for over a year even though he maintained his innocence.

In a statement, Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark wrote, "It is appropriate to make an application to dismiss this indictment as a matter of justice, and my office will do so today beginning at 10:30 a.m." 

Clark says the Distict Attorney's Office discovered unanticipated witness and evidentiary issues, including one of the original witnesses who was no longer cooperative and the fact that the victim was unable to identify the suspect who shot him.

Clark says the office also found the initial information provided about the investigation to be inconsistent and contradictory.

Hernandez was charged with criminal possession of a weapon, criminal possession of a firearm, assault and reckless endangerment in connection with a shooting outside of a Bronx bodega in 2015, but has maintained his innocence.

Hernandez's case drew human rights advocacy groups to join his side in recent months, and he was able to post $250,000 bail with their help in July.

Advocates say his case echoes similarities to the case of Kalief Browder. 

Browder, a 22-year-old man who committed suicide after being jailed for three years because his family could not post his bail, was accused of stealing a backpack.

Hernandez appeared in Bronx Criminal Court Wednesday where all charges were formally dismissed.

sorry to interrupt
your first 20 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 20 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 20 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login or create an account to continue enjoying News12.
Our sign-up page is undergoing maintenance and is not currently available. However, you will be given direct access to while we complete our upgrade.
When we are back up and running you will be prompted at that time to complete your sign in. Until then, enjoy the local news, weather, traffic and more that's "as local as local news gets."