News 07.01.16

Remembering Kalief Browder a Year After his Suicide and Why Rikers Island Should be Shut Down

By Alicia Maule, Yili Liu

Kalief Browder was wrongly accused of stealing a back pack. After refusing to take a plea deal, he spent three years in Riker's solitary confinement. He hung himself two years after his release.

On June 6, 2015, Kalief Browder took his own life following a brutal wrongful incarceration in New York’s Rikers Island. A year later, on the anniversary of his death, Innocence Project attended his vigil, the Campaign to Shutdown Rikers protest, and interviewed Kalief’s brother Akeem.

Like the majority of Rikers Island prisoners, he was locked up for far too long awaiting trial. The alleged crime? Stealing a backpack which Akeem says never even existed. For two out of the three years he was incarcerated in Rikers, a prison notorious for human rights offenses, Browder was subjected to solitary confinement and beat by prison guards multiples times. Eventually the charges against him were dropped and he was released, but as his brother explains in the video, his spirit was damaged from the abuses he endured and was never able to fully recover.

Watch the powerful video of Akeem sharing his brother’s heartbreaking story and calling on Rikers to be shut down.

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Learn more about campaigns to close Rikers, Shut Down Rikers and #CloseRikers

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  1. Miriam Stroud says:

    I spent time behind the wall and it is a tough place to be as an adult and to watch the story of this young man sufferd for 1,111 days which does signify the meaning of an Angel was watching over Him and would rapidly manifest his thoughts into reality. This was one of the hardest documentaries that I have ever watched and as every tear fell down my face I just couldn’t believe that He took his Life because the Justice system failed Him and His Mother. RIH Kalief Browder and Venida Browder… Monday June 6, 2020 marks your 5yr Anniversary and We will continue to fight for Justice…..

  2. Rebecca Wolan says:

    The first line is wrong under the photo. He was never convicted.

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