Never charged, never tried, but dead

Hat tip to Mike Connelly

Kalief Browder, a 16-year-old high school sophomore, was arrested May 10, 2010 on suspicion of having stolen a backpack.  He maintained his innocence and asked to be tried, but instead was kept for 33 months on Rikers Island, including 800 days in solitary confinement.  Videos show him being beaten by guards and by other inmates.

A judge offered to sentence him to time already served if he pleaded guilty, and told him he risked 15 years in prison if he went to trial.  But he turned down the offer and insisted on his innocence.  Eventually he was released without ever being tried.

He attempted suicide several times while in prison.  At age 22, he committed suicide at his home in the Bronx.

Jennifer Gonnerman, a writer for the New Yorker, wrote an article about how the New York City criminal justice system took three years of his life.  In the end, it took more than just the three years.


The Brief and Tragic Life of Kalief Browder by Ta-Nehisi Coates for The Atlantic.

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