So many times when I come on the air in the morning, it is to report on some deep injustice that has happened in our nation. I’m known as a justice writer, but the truth is that I don’t get many chances to write or talk about justice in America. We don’t have a lot of justice in this country.
But this morning I wanna share some good news.
Just two months ago, in mid-July, I came on here to tell you all about Pedro Hernandez, a young teenager who was wrongly jailed at Rikers Island for a crime he didn’t commit. For the past three years the NYPD had wrongly arrested this young brother on 7 different occasions – with the charges dismissed each and every time, but this past time, he was framed by the police and the district attorney for an attempted murder that he had absolutely nothing to do with –causing Pedro to miss his entire senior year of high school.
With your help, we bailed Pedro out of Rikers and helped him get a new criminal defense team. But yesterday morning, in spite of all of my efforts to expose the corruption and false witnesses that caused this trouble for Pedro – in spite of showing videos of eyewitness accounts who actually saw and identified the real shooter in the crime Pedro was charged with – the DA decided she was going to move forward with his trial anyway.
But, at the last possible minute, just moments before the trial was supposed to begin, District Attorney Darcel Clarke, with her back against the wall, knowing full well that her own team and officers in the NYPD falsified evidence against Pedro, dismissed all of the charges against him.
It was an enormous vindication not only for Pedro and his mother, Jessica, but for Manuel Gomez, who the family used their life savings to hire as a private investigator to get to the bottom of things. Gomez is a real life superhero not only to Pedro’s family, but dozens of families throughout New York who’ve been wronged by the NYPD.
This relieves an enormous burden from Pedro and his family, and this dismissal is indeed a form of justice, but Malcolm X said you can’t stab somebody with a 9 inch blade, pull out 3 inches, and call that progress.
Every single person who did this to Pedro is still on the New York City payroll. Every officer who falsified evidence. Every officer who beat children into giving false statements. Every officer who threatened kids with jail time if they didn’t lie on Pedro. Every prosecutor who told kids they would send police to their homes to beat or harass them if they didn’t lie on one another. All of them are still on payroll and still on the job.
Let me name them:
Assistant District Attorney David Slott.
Detective David Terrell.
Detective Daniel Brady.
Those are three of the primary villains who not only turned Pedro’s life upside down, but did this to hundreds of kids from throughout The Bronx.
This isn’t a conspiracy theory. If you’ve read my series, Soul Snatchers, we provided the evidence, the affidavits, the videos, the case files, showing that what they did to Pedro has affected families all over the city.
This is not just ugly – it’s criminal. So yes, it’s great that they dismissed these charges against Pedro, but they really didn’t have a choice. We exposed them. And if this injustice was isolated to Pedro alone, I’d consider letting it go and moving on, but that’s not what we’re dealing with here. It’s deeper than that.
By dismissing the case against Pedro yesterday, the Bronx DA basically admitted that they kept a kid in jail for years, denied him the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, all on a bunch of nothing. And what I know is that they tried to do this to Pedro because it worked when they did it with so many other kids.
I’ll close with this thought – we’re being out organized by those who mean to oppress us – be it police, prosecutors, or politicians. This victory with Pedro is a sign of what’s possible when we organize smartly against the system, but it’s not enough. We have more power and potential than we truly understand, but we’re just not organized enough to fight back. In the weeks and months ahead, I’m going to spend some time trying to organize us here locally in New York. I have some fresh ideas of what we could do nationally that I’ll be sharing soon too.
Let’s keep fighting back!
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