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.