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City, RPD face scrutiny over handling of East High shooting threat case

February 27, 2018 09:07 AM

Several community groups are outraged over how the City of Rochester and the Rochester Police Department handled the case of the 21-year-old woman accused of threatening to shoot students and teachers at East High School.

Advocates say Abigail Hernandez, who has special needs, isn't being treated fairly.

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Police say Hernandez went on Facebook using a fake account and posted a message, saying she wanted to shoot up the school. Hernandez, a former student at East High, was most recently in the special education program at Edison Tech.

Her friends and family members tell News10NBC that she has mental health issues and likely doesn't grasp the seriousness of the charge against her.

Now three groups -- Metro Justice, the Rochester Democratic Socialists of America (ROCSDA), and ROCitizen -- are calling for change in how this case is being handled. The groups released the following joint statement:

"The handling of Abigail Hernandez's case by the RPD and ICE is morally reprehensible and exposes serious weaknesses in the Sanctuary resolution passed by the City of Rochester last year. The departments involved haven't given clear details on how Abigail, a student and Dreamer, was processed and why the RPD is coordinating with a brutal and inhumane agency like ICE. Metro Justice, ROCDSA, and ROCitizen are outraged by the clear lack of due process and the presumption of guilt being propagated by Deputy Mayor Cedric Alexander, the RPD, and ICE. Abigail, like all members of our community, has rights and deserves to be treated with fairness and dignity. As a person whose intellectual capacity is in question, it is even more important that we ensure she understands her civil rights as she is being pushed through an unsympathetic system. We demand a just process for Abigail, a halt to the deportation proceedings, and an end to the violence and abuses of ICE."

Rochester Police say Herrnandez did make the threat and they found a shotgun at her home. In addition to the charge of making a terroristic threat, Hernandez faces deportation because ICE says she's here illegally. An immigration judge will determine if she can stay in the U.S.

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