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 convicted 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

Leave a reply

  1. Jan Little says:

    My Son also committed suicide last year after being imprisoned for four and a half years after suffering solitary confinement for 2 years. I am still struggling to get over his loss. ~i have no family or friends and had a heart attack. I was a Prison officer here in the UK, however, I have spent time in the U.S. with a prisoner on death row whom after a lot of research found is case absurd and wrongful. The Correctional officers in that particular prison were inhumane, even an animal wouldn’t behave in the despicable way they did. My heart goes out to Kaliefs remaining family. God bless you all, my heart and soul are with you.

  2. Joni McGrew says:

    How can I sign the petition? I’d like to stay informed on this bill.

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