Kalief Browder, man who spent 3 years in Rikers without being charged for a crime, commits suicide

A man who spent three years in jail as a teenager despite never being charged with a crime committed suicide on Saturday.

On the night before he hanged himself, a desperate Kalief Browder, 21, told his mother: ‘Ma, I can’t take it anymore,’ the NY Daily News reported.

Mr Browder was arrested in May 2010 for allegedly stealing a backpack from another teen in the Bronx, New York.

His family was unable to raise $10,000 bail so he spent 33 months in Rikers Island awaiting trial, where he was put in solitary confinement for hundreds of days, and beaten by guards and gang members.

The teen told his court-appointed lawyer he would not accept a plea deal and wanted to go to trial to protest his innocence.

Mr Browder was finally released from Rikers in May 2013 after charges were dropped.

The teen attempted to hang himself after two years in jail and following a stint in solitary confinement. After being taken to the infirmary, he was placed back in solitary confinement.

Browder said he was starved while in solitary with guards withholding up to four consecutive meals at a time. He often had to beg for extra bread so he wouldn’t go hungry, he said.

In total, the teenager spent 400 days in solitary confinement.

After he was finally released from Rikers, Mr Browder harbored intense feelings of paranoia and had anti-psychotics prescribed for him.

He attempted suicide six months after his release from prison.

Mr Browder’s ordeal garnered national attention after a surveillance video was leaked from Rikers showing him being slammed to the floor and beaten by a guard in 2010.

The footage, which was released in April by the New Yorker, also showed the teen being beaten by around ten gang members during a wild brawl in the jail.

Describing the attack, Mr Browder said: ‘After that happened. I was scared to come out of my cell to get in the shower again, because I felt, if I come out of my cell and he slams me again, then I’m going to get more box days.’

Mr Browder met Jay-Z after the rapper saw the videos. Rosie O’Donnell interviewed the young man on The View and later invited him to dinner at her home.

After being released from prison, Mr Browder attended Bronx Community College but struggled and dropped out.

He had recently returned to college after an anonymous donor offered to pay a semester’s tuition.

The New York Times reported in March that more than 400 people were in prison for two years or longer without having been charged with a crime.

Mayor Bill de Blasio has promised to have the courts, prisons and prosecutors work to reduce the inmate population by decreasing delays.

Mr Browder had a pending lawsuit against the city at the time of his death.

Source: The DailyMail

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