• Liz Venerable

“Kalief Browder was the prophet.” – Jay Z

Photo courtesy of NYmag.com

We have all seen or at least heard of the hit show “Making a Murderer” on Netflix, but how much do you know about the story of Kalief Broeder?

Kalief Browder was born on May 25, 1993 in New York. He was the youngest of seven siblings, who all referred to him as “Peanut.” In 2010, 16-year-old Kalief Browder was stopped by police in the Belmont section of the Bronx on his way home. Accused of stealing a backpack, Kalief ended up at Rikers Island, New York City's main jail complex and one of the world's largest correctional and mental institutions.

During his time at Rikers, Kalief spent nearly 800 days in solitary confinement and was beaten by other inmates and correctional officers. He also tried to comment suicide serval times throughout his time in jail.

Never pleading guilty and never convicted, Kalief maintained his innocence and requested a trial. However, he was only offered plea deals. In the end, the case was eventually dismissed and Judge Patricia DiMango released Kalief in June 2013 after numerous postponements of his case and 31 hearings. However, Kalief consequently lost three years of his life to the jail system for a crime he didn’t commit.

Kalief was 19-years-old when he got of jail. After getting out, Kalief got his GED and attended Bronx Community College. Over the next three years, Kalief would attempt suicide two more times while battling depression and paranoia. Despite his failing mental health, Kalief would speak to various news outlets, like The New York Times, about what happened to him. In June 2015, Kalief killed himself at just 22-years-old. His time in jail and solitary confinement have been said to have caused his mental condition, leading to his suicide.

What is so amazing about Kalief is that after everything he went through, he still said “no” after a judge said, “You will be out today. After two-and-a-half years, just plea. You face 15 years in jail if you go to trial." This is a boy who had his teen years taken away from him, and he still said, "I’m innocent. I’m not going to say I’m guilty."

Kalief said in his interview with Time that “It happens everyday.” He is correct, according to Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS), as in 2014, 4.1% of people sentenced to death are later found to be innocent.

Spike TV and Jay Z are bringing the Kalief Browder story to TV, with a six part docu-series. You can watch “Time: The Kalief Browder Story” every Wednesday at 10/9C on Spike TV.

Photo courtesy of BusinessInsider.com

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