Pedro Hernandez, the Bronx teenager whose year-long pre-trial detention on Rikers Island helped build momentum for ending cash bail, was arrested this weekend for his alleged role in an assault and robbery. But attorneys for the 19-year-old maintain that their client has been set up once again, and that the arrest is just the latest in a series of retaliations against Hernandez for his efforts to expose police and prosecutorial misconduct.

According to an NYPD spokesperson, Hernandez and a pair of unidentified accomplices approached two men — ages 19 and 20 — who were waiting for a cab in the Bronx at 7 a.m. on Sunday morning. The assailants allegedly struck the two with a baseball bat, before taking off with their credit cards and jewelry. During the assault, police said, the 20-year-old victim managed to "take the knife from Pedro Hernandez and subsequently used it to defend himself."

Following the altercation, Hernandez checked himself into a hospital for stab wounds to his face and back. Three hours later, as he was still receiving medical attention, police showed up at the hospital and charged him with robbery, assault, and menacing. The two other accomplices who allegedly instigated the assault alongside Hernandez have not yet been located.

Attorneys with the Bronx Defenders, as well as a private investigator closely connected to the Hernandez family, say they have good reason to doubt the cops' narrative. In a statement, public defender Julia Deutsch said it was actually Hernandez who was attacked, and that he was arrested and "forcibly removed" from the hospital as part of the police campaign to bring "harassment and false charges" against him.

Since making headlines for refusing to take a plea deal in the 2015 shooting case that landed him on Rikers — and which the Bronx District Attorney later dropped — Hernandez has been stopped without justification multiple times, his attorney said, most recently for driving without a license this past December. He has not been convicted for that offense.

"The details of this case will come out and the truth will prevail," Deutsch added. "Mr. Hernandez is still in need of medical attention that was denied by the NYPD and he is seeking that now."

Private Investigator Manuel Gomez, a former NYPD officer who previously located the eyewitnesses who helped Hernandez beat the shooting charge, also told Gothamist he'd obtained testimony undermining the NYPD's version of events. According to Gomez, Hernandez and his two friends were planning to get breakfast with a pair of female friends on Sunday, when the two women walked out of the building accompanied by two other men. After exchanging "dirty looks" with Hernandez and his friends, the two men got in an Uber with the intention of returning, the private investigator claimed.

"They went to go get their weapons and came back to stomp Pedro," asserted Gomez, who said his account was based on interviews with the two female witnesses. When the two men returned, "the girls asked, 'Why are you back?' and they said, 'because they looked at us.' One of the girls said, 'Please don't do anything,'" said Gomez. "It's clear their intent was not good."

In Gomez's telling, Hernandez's attackers are members of the Trinitarios, a violent gang believed to be behind the murder of Lesandro "Junior" Guzman-Feliz last summer. A police spokesperson did not respond to questions about the alleged victim's potential gang affiliations.

"The cops have done nothing less than try to destroy the image of this young man," said Gomez. "Evidence will prove, once again, that vindictive police falsely arrested Pedro."

A spokesperson for the Bronx District Attorney's Office did not respond to Gothamist's inquiries.