Khalief Browder story exposed one of the greatest kept secrets of U.S. Criminal Justice system ‘solitary confinement of juveniles’. Thanks to author and reporter Jennifer Gonnerman who wrote an article piece that was published in The New Yorker magazine in 2014.
It was a late night in the bronx, when Khalief only sixteen at the time walked home with two friends when he was confronted by police. One officer insisted to his fellow officers that Khalief an another male ‘robbed him’ prior and had taken his backpack.
Khalief affirmed his innocence and was told by police that he would be brought to the precint for the per usual ‘questioning’ and would be able to return home, but Khalief never made it home.
Khalief was arrested and taken to Riker’s Island; one of the notorious prisons in New York state were many underage youths who maintain their innocence [cannot post bail, and afford a trial attorney] are tried as adults and sent to serve mandatory sentencing without convictions.
Khalief was given 10,000 bail and a ‘legal aid prosecutor’ but was never convicted of a crime. The only witness of his alleged robbery was a signed affidavit from the officer. Khalief was denied the right of speedy trail and his mother could not afford to pay the bond payment of 3,000. Khalief’s court appearance was denied more than 31 times.
85% Of The 10,000 Inmates Jailed In New York Rikers Island Prison Have Not Been Tried.
As a result Khalief spent close to 3 years in Riker’s Island, two of which he served in solitary confinement before his release on June 6th 2013.
Two years after his release Khalief obtained his GED, went off to college, while sharing his painful experience in public interviews, and tv appearances. Things seems to be looking up for Khalief.
On June 5th, 2015, Khalief committed suicide in his mother’s home.
Incarceration Killed Khalief Browder
During his imprisonment, Khalief was denied food from correctional officers on multiple occasions, and received multiple beatings from CO’s and other cell mates. In a video obtained by The New Yorker, Khalief is jumped by a group of cell mates [all part of gang affiliates] after an altercation with one member who ‘spat’ on him moments prior.
Another clip shows Khalief body tossed and slammed to the floor by a CO after a verbal dispute. Khalief admits that he attempted suicide 5-6 times while in jail; a visual learning he adapted from watching other inmates attempt the same.
When Khalief First Came Home He’d Walk Back And Forth, From One Corner To Another, As If He Were In Still In A Box. He Did This For Months. It Was Hard To Watch Him Go Through That.
In an upcoming six part documentary, Jay-Z with the approval of Khalief’s mother has partnered with publishing house Weinstein Co. to air the lifetime of Khalief Browder on Spike Tv in January of 2017.
The series will shed light on Khalief’s time in prison and the detrimental impact of his mental health that up led to his untimely death.
Update: On October 14th, 2016 Kalief Browder’s mother died from a series of heart attacks. According to family members, Venida Browder imminent death was a result of broken heart after losing Kalief.