In what can only be described as a complete and utter tragedy and a disgrace to our law enforcement system, 22 year old Kalief Browder, a victim of our “justice” system died this past Saturday after taking his own life.
Arrested as a 16 year old sophomore and later charged with second-degree robbery, Browder spent the next three years of his life, the bulk of which was in mind numbing solitary confinement, at Rikers Island. He was release in 2013 after the charges were dropped, but not before he attempted to commit suicide over 5 TIMES, by hanging himself with his own bed sheets.
Upon his release, Browder spoke of the violence he experienced at the hands of correction officers and prison mates, oftentimes being singled out for his young age and frail physique, receiving beatings, kickings and group attacks. He tried to turn his life around, enrolling in college in the Bronx and even attracting the benevolence of a kind stranger who offered to help pay his tuition after an article about him was published in The New Yorker.
His stay of three years was due to the ridiculously slow moving of his trial, which under no circumstances should take 3 years, especially as a potentially innocent young teen sits in a maximum security jail. Browder was not quite able to overcome the demons that his experience in prison created and ultimately succumbed to them over the weekend, hanging himself from a window in his family’s house while his mother was in the other room.
Our thoughts are with the Browder family at this time as they deal with the loss of Kalief and work to bring legal action against the city and state.