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Tuesday, June 16, 2015


"In the early hours of Saturday, May 15, 2010, ten days before his seventeenth birthday, Kalief Browder and a friend were returning home from a party in the Belmont section of the Bronx. They walked along Arthur Avenue, the main street of Little Italy, past bakeries and caf├ęs with their metal shutters pulled down for the night. As they passed East 186th Street, Browder saw a police car driving toward them. More squad cars arrived, and soon Browder and his friend found themselves squinting in the glare of a police spotlight. An officer said that a man had just reported that they had robbed him. “I didn’t rob anybody,” Browder replied. “You can check my pockets.” "

by Jennifer Gonnerman

In the back of the squad car, Kalief Browder asked his friend if he had taken something (turned out there was a stolen backpack in question). His friend said that he hadn't taken anything either. Yet in 2010, at the age of 16, it was Browder that was sent to Riker's Island for a crime he didn't commit.
He wouldn't be  released for 3 years.

"Browder sat there for three years without a trial. He was repeatedly beaten by guards and inmates while in Rikers. He spent two years in solitary confinement—a euphemism for living under torture. On [a] Saturday in [June of 2015] the effects of that torture were made manifest:

That afternoon, at about 12:15 P.M., [Browder] went into another bedroom, pulled out the air conditioner, and pushed himself out through the hole in the wall, feet first, with a cord wrapped around his neck. His mother was the only other person home at the time. After she heard a loud thumping noise upstairs, she went upstairs to investigate, but couldn’t figure out what had happened. It wasn’t until she went outside to the backyard and looked up that she realized that her youngest child had hanged himself." 

                                      by  Ta-Nehisi Coates