Kalief was sent to Rikers Island at the age of sixteen. He was accused of stealing a backpack and served three years before he seen trial, two of those years were solitary confinement. Never found guilty of this crime, Kalief could not post the $10,000 bail that was set. While in jail he was reported to have tried to commit suicide numerous times. Mr. Browder had multiple physical encounters with inmates and officers (some caught on camera) that left mental scares for years to come.
Throughout his sentencing Kalief remained stern of his innocence and never accepted a plea deal from prosecutors who promised him immediate release, if he did so. Prosecutors eventually dropped all charges three years after supposedly “losing contact with their only witness”. It’s said the he was never able to fully recover from the three years of imprisonment once out of jail and often “recreated his condition of solitary confinement” by shutting himself in his bedroom for long periods of time.
Mr. Browder was the youngest of seven, nicknamed “peanut”, he never could quite shake the realities of his wrongful imprisonment. Often afraid of being in large crowds, he checked nightly to ensure ever window in the house was locked before going to sleep. This lead to him being so paranoid that he was admitted into a psychiatric ward at Harlem Hospital Center due to throwing out his television set under the belief that “it was watching him”.
His story attracted mass attention from a host of celebrities including but not limited too Jay-Z, Rossie O’Donnell and Senator Rand Paul who all reached out to Kalief in an effort of commencement for his courage. He seemed to be headed in the right direction amidst his setback; he earned what we equivalent to a H.S diploma and began enrollment at a community college. Mr. Browder was reported saying “he wanted to accomplish something (i.e school) before entering the spotlight” that his story would bring upon release.
June 6th, 2015 at the age of 22, Mr. Browder was found outside his mothers home in Bronx, NY. He hung himself from a second floor window.
Check out his story here: http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/kalief-browder-1993-2015