The city is paying a $1 million settlement to a man who was held on Rikers Island for two years, despite committing no crime.
According to the Daily News, Russell Hernandez's ordeal began in 2004, when he was attacked by carjackers attempting to steal his car. Hernandez was punched in the head and stabbed in the leg, and in the course of attempting to drive away, crashed his car.
He testified against his assailants before a grand jury, and, following threats, was moved to Manhattan by prosecutors for "protection." But THEN, the tabloid writes:
Hernandez, a native of Trinidad and a green card holder, was arrested in February 2006 by federal authorities for an immigration hearing based on several arrests a decade in the past. An immigration judge set bail at $6,500, but before Hernandez’s family could post the money, investigators from the Bronx DA's office showed up with a material witness warrant and took custody of him.
He agreed to testify against the attackers—apparently part of a gang called "Sex, Money, Murder"—but was never called.
“I sat in Rikers Island for two years and I wasn’t accused of a crime,” he told the tabloid. “Nobody would believe me. The guards and the prisoners thought I was a spy or a snitch because when they looked me up on the computer there was no charge against me.”
Despite his travails, Hernandez plans to apply for U.S. citizenship.