TIME: The Kalief Browder Story

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TIME: The Kalief Browder Story by Mind Map: TIME: The Kalief Browder Story

1. Kalief Browder Born on May 25, 1993, Bronx, New York, Parents: Venida and Everett Browder, Received his G.E.D , and Attended Bronx Community College However on May 15th, 2010, days before his 17th birthday, Kalief life changed. FOREVER. "I feel like I was robbed of my happiness" - Kalief

1.1. Kalief's Case: On May 15th, 2010, 16 year old Kalief was wrongly charged with robbery (allegedly stealing a backpack from Roberto Bautista). He was imprisoned without conviction for three years.

1.2. Life Before Prison Attended New Day Academy H.S "Fun guy" - Staff members. "Kalief was a art kid and very social. Kalief was adopted by Venida and Everett Browder. She fostered eight children. Nickname "Peanut" because he was the smallest.

1.3. Life in Prison: "The People are not ready. We are requesting a week" - Bronx Courthouse June 23, 2011 - People are not ready, request one week. August 24th, 2011 - People are not ready, request one day. November 4, 2011, People are not ready, prosecutor on trial, request 2 weeks. December 2, 2011 - Prosecutor on trial, request January 3rd. Corrections officers abused him by not feeding nor allowing him to take showers. Kalief always tried to defended himself but the situation will get worst. Kalief was placed in solitary confinement 2 out of 3 years of his time at Rikers Island for numerous altercations with other inmates

1.4. Life after prison and how solitary mentally destroyed Kalief Kalief tried to commit suicide two times and was admitted into the psychiatric ward. He paces the corners of the driveway and in his room. Non stop. He was doing well at one point, with school and work, but on June 6, 2015, he committed suicide. "In my mind, I feel like I'm still in jail, because I'm still feeling the side effects from what happened in there" - Kalief

1.5. Despite everything that occurred at on point Kalief did have dreams to be a successful businessman. He was enrolled as a student at Bronx Community College before his passing. In the docu-series, he discusses how he feels discouraged about his chances at being like “businessmen and business women dressed in suits.” “That’s just me. I wanna be successful like them.”

1.6. Remembering Kalief

1.6.1. Near the end of the documentary, family and friends are shown at Kalief’s final resting place on May 29, 2016, a day they called his “new birthday” after his release from Rikers on May 29, 2013 following a three-year stint.

1.6.2. After the emotional visit to the cemetery, family and friends gathered at Venida’s home to celebrate Kalief’s memory with a backyard barbecue. Deion said that they were commemorating "what he accomplished, and what he’s still accomplishing."

1.6.3. In a clip from a previous interview, Kalief said that what he wanted most in his post-Rikers life was peace of mind for himself and his family. In a heart-warming moment, Venida notes that she pays attention to the ivy growing above Kalief’s window at the house. The ivy only grows above his bedroom, and she sees it as a sign that her son is doing all right. "That’s his life right there, that’s how I look at it," she said

2. Family

2.1. After Kalief’s father left, his demeanor changed - As a child, Kalief was a goofball with a heart of gold, who enjoyed being a regular kid with his friends David and Tyrone. He also had a strong relationship with his siblings. However, friends and family members who were interviewed said that the absence of Kalief's father Everett caused a change in him. Neighborhood friends explained that they felt Kalief seemed “lost” after his father left, and began confiding in the wrong people. - Jay Z concluded that Browder was likely spending time with the wrong people as a way to experience emotional catharsis with those who share similar stories. “So, you sittin’ next to the guy and you’re like ‘yeah, my dad left too, f--k him, I hate him,’” he explained. “But you’re actually letting those feelings out, [just] not in the way that’s evolved.”

2.2. Akeem Browder, Kalief’s brother, explained that Kalief was confused as to why corrections officers did nothing to stop an inmate attack or help afterwards. In a security video of an inmate attack, viewers can clearly see a female C.O. leaving the area as several inmates attack another.

2.3. As testimonials from his family and friends suggest, Kalief Browder was always someone who spoke up against wrongdoing ever since a young age. He also explained how he didn’t want to stick with a gang before Rikers because he’d “have to participate in stuff" he "didn’t agree with."

2.4. Members of Kalief’s family said that he didn’t trust anybody, sometimes not even them, and that he worried that people would come after him. He would also walk around the driveway, but just in four corners, since he was used to the small confines of his solitary cell at Rikers. He became discouraged with not being able to find a job, and he was getting worried that people were judging him because he would talk to himself.

2.5. Kalief’s brother Kamal said that the family tried to do everything they could to make Kalief feel at home, such as inviting friends over to the house for get-togethers. However, Kalief didn't talk to anyone and stayed to himself. His brother Deion said that he would come home, go to his room and shut all the blinds.

2.5.1. What he was yearning for was a way to escape his thoughts. “Going somewhere getting some air … an escape would be a reliever to me,” he said.

2.6. Family And Friends React To Kalief’s Death (Symbolic Interactionism )

2.6.1. Kalief Browder's family and friends were shook with the news of his suicide. Kalief’s friend David Saverino was told by Kalief to come hang out with him that afternoon, while Rosie O’Donnell, who befriended Kalief after his appearance on The View, said that he had texted her shortly before his death saying that he “needed time” to himself.

2.6.2. His siblings still recall the moments from the day Kalief took his own life. His brother Kamal called his next door neighbour to confirm Kalief was gone, after his mother called him on the phone frantic. His brother Deion said that “it just looked like he was sleeping,” while brother Raheem and sister Nicole tearily said that they wish they could have done more to help their brother.

2.6.3. Several events led up to his suicide. On June 10, Kalief was expected to show up for a court hearing for a new case. He was going to meet with the Bronx District Attorney, and developed a fear that he’d be sent back to Rikers. Venida Browder said that the day before her son’s suicide, he was checking his phone frequently, pacing back and forth in his room, and looking out the window. “They warned me,” she said he told her on June 5, the day before his death.

2.6.4. Kalief's Father Returns

2.6.4.1. Prestia filed a wrongful death suit after Kalief’s passing. Venida sued New York City for $20 million on behalf of Kalief’s estate. However, there was a major roadblock in getting justice for her son. Eddie Browder, Kalief’s father, pursued a claim of his own to Kalief’s estate. Eddie hired Sanford Rubenstein, a lawyer who was infamously let off without charges in a rape case, to represent his half of Kalief’s estate in the wrongful death suit.

2.6.4.2. Nicole Browder said that Kalief’s father and mother are still technically married, even though they have been living separately for many years. “Once he left my mom, he wasn’t part of Kalief’s life at all,” she said. "This whole time, he thought he did it [stealing the backpack]." She also said that he could have helped Kalief with the $900 bail bond, but refused to help his son.

2.6.4.3. “If Kalief were alive, Eddie wouldn’t get a dime,” said Venida. “It’s not fair to Kalief, and it’s not fair to me.”

2.6.4.4. Eddie also had plans to sell the house as a "tactic" to keep the money to himself. After Venida died, he became the sole administrator of Kalief’s estate. Not only did he sell the house three days after her death, but Eddie also removed Paul Prestia from the civil suit against the city. As of April 2017, the family intends to contest his administrator-ship.

2.6.4.4.1. “We have to pick up the pieces,” said Nicole of Eddie’s re-emergence into their lives. She and her siblings are remaining optimistic. “My mom would want us to stay family,” said Akeem.

2.7. Kaliefs Mother

2.7.1. The most painful feeling for a mother is to lose her child, but Venida Browder made sure to stay strong for Kalief and to keep his memory alive. She worked with Jay Z for the national campaign ‘Stop Solitary For Kids’, and also made appearances around the city discussing the injustice of Kalief’s final years and the failures of the criminal justice system.

2.7.1.1. “Justice failed him, but he still believed in justice,” she said. “It’s a whole system that destroyed my son, and I want them all to pay.”

2.7.1.2. “People care because they see I care,” she explained of her activism. “I’m not letting it fade away, that’s my responsibility, and I’m gonna keep it up.”

2.7.1.3. Her children said that what happened to Kalief “threw her over the edge,” and they wanted to see her fight for him and his legacy, because “she wanted to see Kalief’s story get finished.” “The system slowly but surely caused [Kalief’s] death, and that’s what’s happening to me,” she said in an interview. She passed away on Oct. 14, 2016.

3. Behaviours (Functionalism)

3.1. Kalief’s bail was denied due to a previous felony charge Prior to his arrest in 2010, Kalief was arrested for crashing into a parked car after joyriding in a stolen bakery truck. Although his mother Venida was able to afford the $900 bond, the $3,000 bail was denied since he violated his felony probation by getting arrested again. Although he was innocent in the infamous backpack case, the justice system put a hold on him until the case was resolved, or until someone could post bail to get him out. “$3000 doesn't sound like a lot of money, but when you don't have it you just don't have it,” said Venida. However, Kalief made sure to stay strong while incarcerated. “If I just say that I did it, nothing’s gonna be done about it,” he says passionately in an audio recording about his unwillingness to plead guilty. “No justice is served, nobody hears nothing at all. I had to fight.”

3.2. Kalief Browder was always someone who spoke up against wrongdoing ever since a young age. He also explained how he didn’t want to stick with a gang before Rikers because he’d “have to participate in stuff" he "didn’t agree with." "I stood up for what was right, even when I was in jail," he said. His outspoken personality led to being jumped several times. One of the worst incidents Browder faced at Rikers was being jumped by members of the Young Gunners, a Rikers gang, in October 2010, after he confronted a member for spitting in his face hours before.

3.3. "I stood up for what was right, even when I was in jail," he said. His outspoken personality led to being jumped several times. One of the worst incidents Browder faced at Rikers was being jumped by members of the Young Gunners, a Rikers gang, in October 2010, after he confronted a member for spitting in his face hours before.

3.4. It was known that being in solitary confinement also had an affect on Kalief’s brain development. Alex Dranovsky, a professor of clinical psychology at Columbia University, said that the prefrontal cortex of our brains matures during adolescence. It’s supposed to help combat fear and aggression, and since it wasn’t fully developed in 17-year-old Kalief, solitary confinement may have "scrambled" its development. “I was trapped. I just needed a way out, but there was no way out,” said Kalief. “I lost my childhood, I lost my sanity.”

4. Struggles

4.1. Kalief was open about his demons. The bravery that Kalief spoke about while in the public eye after his release was remarkable. However, he fought demons every day, which ultimately led to his tragic death. “For stuff that I’ve been through prior, I just feel like I have a lot of demons walking with me,” Kalief said in an interview after his release from Rikers. “Not from anything I did, but stuff that I’ve seen and been through. Every time I get time to myself, I think about those things and it stresses me out.” His mother also takes note of his post-Rikers issues in an interview as well. “Mentally, he’s not there,” she tells the camera while sitting at her kitchen table. “You know, I’m his mom, I can see when there’s a difference, and it’s like he’s in and out.” She also shows holes that Kalief has punched in the walls to deal with his post-Rikers aggression.

4.2. Kalief explained that he was often taunted by a guard named Heartz, who didn’t let him shower for two weeks. The story of a Rikers inmate, Jerome Murdough, also showed that the guards were not attentive when it came to a mentally ill inmate. Murdough died in his sweltering, 101-degree solitary cell after a C.O. refused to check on him. "I was falling apart mentally," said Kalief. "I was starting to feel suicidal and no one wanted to help me out… After a while, I had gave up hope."

4.3. Suicidal Thoughts (Conflict Theory)

4.3.1. After Browder started losing his mind in solitary confinement, he began to have suicidal thoughts, and attempted to kill himself four times while at Rikers. It seems like he tried to kill himself after failed court hearings, when the courts would tell him they’re not ready to take him to trial. Before his March 2012 suicide attempt, in which the guards beat him up, the 17-year-old said that he thought about killing himself for two weeks. However, the guards at Rikers Island never reported his suicide attempt, and his mother Venida had no idea he tried to kill himself that year.

4.3.2. Events Leading To Suicide

4.3.2.1. According to Prestia (his lawyer), Kalief believed that he was cursed. He was stabbed in the head by a person in his neighbourhood who wanted to know about Rikers, a request that Kalief turned down. People who wanted things from Kalief also tormented his family. His brother Kamal was attacked by people who wanted money from his brother.

4.3.2.1.1. As a result of a fight that broke out between Kalief and the attackers, both he and his brother were taken to the precinct and were charged with resisting arrest. Kamal said that his brother was “freaking out” about being back in the precinct that sent him to Rikers. Prestia picked them both up, but they had a court hearing on June 10, 2015 for the fight, where Kalief’s “whole soul dropped” according to Bodrick. (counsellor Mark Bodrick)

4.3.2.2. The civil rights case was also at a stand-still. Prestia said that they were dragging out the case, and it didn’t seem like they had any intentions of settling anytime soon. Prestia believes that the courts were trying to make it seem like Kalief was lying about everything from the backpack robbery to the conditions in Rikers to his suicide attempts while there. The attorney assigned to question Kalief during the deposition can be heard in the documentary asking him specifics about his suicide attempts, seemingly implying that he was lying about them. “When can I move on from this?” Prestia said Kalief often asked him.

4.4. After his release Kalief states “I felt relieved,” he recalled with a smile and a laugh. However, the damage had already been done to Kalief’s mental health and spirit.

4.5. "I didn’t have problems like this [before Rikers]," he explained. "Sometimes I talk to myself and it’s actually embarrassing. ‘You’re really crazy, you really talk to yourself.’ I feel like I lost my childhood, I lost a lot of proms, I lost a lot of celebrations with my family,” he continued.

4.5.1. changes in behaviour

4.5.1.1. Medication And Psychotic Breaks

4.5.1.1.1. After leaving Rikers, Kalief’s mental stability was questionable. Emergency dispatchers were called to Kalief’s house one night after his sister Nicole became worried he would try to kill himself. She said he was “peeing on the floor,” and was talking to bottles that he had lined up. He was admitted to St. Barnabas Hospital in December 2013 for a psychiatric evaluation after a suicide attempt.

4.5.1.2. Kalief’s mother Venida described that on June 6, 2015, she made breakfast, but Kalief didn’t want to eat, which she said was out of character for him. Kamal also said that before he went to orientation for his new job, his brother thanked him for being his brother and for "doing something with [your] life." He thought that his behavior was a little strange. Venida said that Kalief asked her if she was okay before going upstairs to his room. She heard sounds and movement upstairs before hearing a loud thud. She opened the back door and saw Kalief’s body hanging out the window. Through tears, she recalled that before the ambulance took Kalief’s lifeless body away, she asked to kiss him one last time. She gave his "swollen" cheek a kiss, and said goodbye to her son.

4.5.1.2.1. Public Aftermath

5. Rikers Island (sociology)

5.1. The Severity of the Conditions at Rikers Island, the terrible conditions for Rikers inmates. There were feces on the walls, and Kalief explained how he used to beg for showers in the place he called "Hell on earth." "Deep down, I’m a mess," he says of how being locked up at Rikers affected him personally. "I’m 21, but on the inside, I feel like I’m 40 ... there’s no living life, there’s no life at all in there." Paul Prestia, Browder’s attorney, spoke about how being in Rikers took a toll on his client. "[The corrections officers] have the discretion to do whatever the f--k they want to these people, and they did it to Kalief.” Browder confirmed explained in another interview how he was beaten by both inmates and correction officers.

5.2. The messed system (Conflict Theory)

5.2.1. If an inmate is not "with the program," they can expect to be taunted, tortured and attacked until they change their minds. A chilling moment caught on camera showed an inmate spraying shaving cream over a security camera, so that the C.O’s wouldn’t see someone getting beaten up and jumped by other inmates.

5.2.2. Correctional Officers

5.2.2.1. Darryl Bryant, a former corrections officer at Rikers, said that C.O.’s "did unconventional things to get inmates to cooperate." He also called two officers who tried to break up a fight between Kalief and the Young Gunners "sheep," suggesting they weren't tough enough on the inmates. Several C.O's were very hard on the inmates. Kalief explained how inmates were getting beaten up and going to their cells with bloody, swollen faces and ripped T-shirts. “It scares me more because it’s the corrections officers doing it," he explains. Some C.O’s were worried about their extortion deals with inmates. According to the documentary, corrections officers extorted inmates for drugs and cigarettes. One tried to smuggle the synthetic marijuana in his sock, while others smuggled knives.

5.2.2.2. C.O.’s weren’t built to deal with people who were going mad in solitary. Instead of taking their mental health into consideration, the guards believed that inmates were being defiant, not crying out for help. Guards control how much food an inmate receives while in solitary confinement, and they would starve them if they thought they were being “smart.”

5.2.3. Solitary Confinement

5.2.3.1. Kalief Browder said during his deposition recordings that he spent more than five or six months in solitary confinement. He actually spent about 800 days in the hell inmates call "box days."

5.2.3.2. While appearing to hold back tears, Kalief explains that he asked to see a psychiatrist during his time in solitary confinement, but the C.O’s did not grant it to him. "They had no mental health issues before they entered solitary, they do now," she said.

5.2.3.3. Before Kalief was sent to solitary confinement, inmates told him stories about life in "the box," which frightened him. As he explained, the box is a 12 ft. by 8 ft. metal cage with a mattress, a sink and a toilet. There are mice and there is feces on the walls. His first extended stay in solitary was 300 days straight, at the age of 17. The United Nations defines any period longer than 15 days straight in solitary confinement as "torture."

5.2.4. "You can’t keep a house safe if you can’t keep inmates locked in their cells," says Florence Finkle, a former deputy commissioner of the NYC Department of Corrections.

5.2.5. Kalief Browder had a hold on his bail status, so he couldn’t leave Rikers Island until his case was resolved.

5.2.6. Kalief was extremely resilient and demanded his day in court to prove his innocence. Even though they wanted him to plead guilty, he rejected the plea because he was not guilty. He refused to comply with the "rule" (more on this later) because he wanted to maintain his innocence and make the system work for him instead.

5.2.7. Every state in the United States has a law stating that if you’re arrested, you have the right to be taken to trial after a certain number of days, but not in New York. N.Y. law states that the District Attorney must be ready within "x" number of days, and days are calculated excluding court delays. This is what is known as the "ready rule." But for Kaliefs case he was delayed without a reason besides “there are no court rooms available during the new time period for a trial, and the courts adjourn the trial for three months” Kalief was brought to court for the first time on Dec. 20, 2010. The D.A. said he was not ready for trial, and the date was pushed back a week. This went on for about six months.

5.2.7.1. "I feel like they’re just playing with my life," said Kalief. Former Attorney General Eric Holder said that holding someone in solitary confinement without a pretrial hearing is "inconsistent with who we say we are as a nation."

5.2.8. In solitary confinement He attempted suicide by hanging in solitary confinement in March of 2012. The guards watched him try to kill himself and did nothing (but encourage it) until it was nearly too late. However, he wasn’t cut down right away, because the guards wanted him "to feel some pain first." They beat him up and stomped on him. Kalief is shown running into the hallways because he knew there were cameras that could capture the abuse he was being put through in solitary confinement.

5.3. According to the documentary, Rikers' deep-seated issues may have began long ago. The prison bears the name of former chief magistrate of the NYC court systems, Richard Riker. Riker is known for abusing the Fugitive Slave Act, and he intended to steal and sell many New York slaves to southern slave owners, regardless of their age.

5.3.1. Rikers doesn’t harbor many white inmates, and if there are any white inmates, they’re not there for long. Look at the story of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former chief at IMF who not only left Rikers on a $6 million bail but reportedly had a full wing to himself.

5.3.2. "If you have enough money, you can go home," says political commentator Van Jones. "But if you’re poor, you have to sit here until your trial or until you plead ... [black inmates;] crime is that they’re poor.”

6. Kaliefs Accuser

6.1. about Raul, the young man who accused Kalief Browder of stealing his backpack. Raul’s brother Manuel said that his brother left his job as a restaurant cook one night around 2:30 a.m., and woke him up to tell him that two black guys stole his backpack. A phone interview with Raul (who now resides in Mexico) revealed that after the initial incident, he became scared of black people and felt like they were following him. No police report was filed after the initial incident, and the city could not confirm the date of the 911 call.

6.2. A week after he was approached, Raul saw Browder and a friend walking down the street. He told Manuel, who told a nearby cop that Browder and his friend robbed his brother the week before. Browder and his friend had no weapons on them, but since Kalief fit the description of the man who robbed Raul, he was arrested without any other evidence. Raul gave different dates of the initial robbery, and there was no security footage of him being robbed.

7. Kaliefs Resillience

7.1. The district attorney offered to drop Kalief’s felony charges to two misdemeanours. If Kalief accepted the guilty plea, he would be released from Rikers in four months.

7.1.1. “It sounded good, it was right before summertime, but I didn't do it,” he explained in archival footage of his decision not to take the guilty plea. “I’m not taking this deal…Half of you wanted to get out of there, and half of you didn't want to leave off the strength of a principle…[resilience] was anger towards the way the system was running. I didn't think it was fair.”

7.1.1.1. Although many other Rikers inmates told Kalief he was “dumb” and "stupid' not to take the guilty plea, he maintained his innocence and stood his ground. He did what he felt was right in his heart.

8. Court

8.1. According to Browder’s lawyer, Paul Prestia, Kalief’s case was adjourned for the remainder of 2012 although it wasn’t a “complex racketeering case” because there was only one witness. Kalief rejected 13 plea deals from June 2011 to February 2013, and soon after, Judge Patricia DiMango got involved.

8.2. DiMango was the eighth judge to see Kalief’s case, and she called herself the “Mariano Rivera of the court system” due to her ability to close cases. She did anywhere from 30 to 70 felony cases a day. DiMango would verbally rip the defendants down until they took a plea, which is why she was brought in to oversee Kalief’s case. Kalief, however, continued to refuse the guilty plea

8.3. The case was adjourned until April 19, 2013, so that the sole witness could come to court. The court said they would be willing to fly Raul from Mexico so that he could take the stand. However, it never happened, and in a span of “five minutes,” DiMango dismissed the trial on May 29 because she realized there wasn’t really a case. Kalief was released from Rikers around 2:30 a.m.

9. Media (sociology)

9.1. Browder made headlines after national media revealed his devastating story about being held on Rikers Island in New York City for three years without trial for a crime he didn't commit.

9.2. Although he was released after his case was dismissed in 2013, the damage had already been done to his mental and psychological well-being. Viewers learned about the effects of Kalief’s jail time on both him and his family. Portions of the deposition in his civil rights case against the city of New York that may have led to his suicide in June 2015 were also shown. Read on to see some of the key takeaways from the fifth instalment below.

9.3. Civil Rights Lawsuit

9.3.1. Kalief’s lawyer Paul Prestia's goal was to get a lawsuit against New York City, the New York Police Department and the Department of Corrections for false arrest, malicious prosecution, denial of a right to a fair and speedy trial and torture. Prestia was able to file a civil rights lawsuit on Kalief’s behalf with damages listed at $20 million. The first deposition in the case was on December 5, 2014, after news of Kalief’s case garnered national media attention. However, he was not “all there” during his depositions, as Prestia describes in the series.

9.4. In fall 2013, Kalief’s story began to spread on New York City news stations. He was also interviewed by Marc Lamont Hill on HuffPostLive, and also Jennifer Gonnerman for The New Yorker.

9.5. In October 2014, her piece on Kalief, "Before The Law,” gained national attention, and some big names were interested in meeting with the young man. Jay Z (executive producer of Time) said he read the article and told Kalief he was "proud" of him and his strength. Rosie O’Donnell invited Kalief on The View in November 2014, and recounted her meeting with Kalief.

9.6. “You survived the unsurvivable,” she tearily remembers telling him backstage in the show. “You found it within you to say ‘no.’” To help with his schooling, she gifted Kalief with a MacBook Air. Venida Browder, Kalief’s mother, also showed some of the letters Kalief got from people across the country, where they thanked him for sharing his story and for being so perseverant. Kalief was not a fan of the attention he was getting. His counselor Mark Bodrick said what he wanted was justice.

10. Changes that need to be made

10.1. • unfair,Rehabilitation should be main focus • Representation fixing • Mental health issues (medical care) - he asked to see a psychologist in solitary but was denied access