A dozen people gathered outside of Essex County Correctional Facility in Newark, New Jersey, on Tuesday to hold vigil for the release of Charbel “Charley” Chehoud. Among the people who attended and shared stories about Charley were faith leaders, advocates, friends and family, and even a Jersey City police officer. Charley has been in detention for over a year and has spent the last 32 days in solitary confinement. But he has committed no crimes. In fact, he helped solve them. After exhausting her resources fighting for Charley’s release, his fiance Veronica Garcia started a Change.org petition that to date has nearly 15,000 signatures.
Charley is known as a local hero in his community. New Jersey police had deemed a brutal murder an accident, but Charley bravely came forward with a tip he heard from a co-worker that solved the case. Since then, he has worked undercover as a police informant for years, risking his life to make his community safer.