Young man who endured 3 years of prison abuse as a teen without a conviction commits suicide

Luther Vandross was outed as gay after his death.

Kalief Browder, 21, hung himself with an air conditioning cord on Saturday after he lost his battle with depression that stemmed from three years of abuse in Rikers Island.

Browder was arrested in May 2010 after another teenager accused him of stealing his backpack. When Browder’s family was unable to pay bail, and when Browder refused to take a deal but instead continued to fight until the charges were dropped in 2013, he ended up spending three years of his life inside Rikers Island. This despite the fact that he had never been convicted.

Browder’s stay in Rikers Island became a national scandal after evidence surfaced that he had been beaten by both guards and inmates and that he had spent over 400 days in solitary confinement. His case garnered the attention of the likes of Jay Z and Rosie O’Donnell.

Watch of part 1 his story on ‘The View’ in November 2014

Although Browder was eventually released and went on to enroll in community college, his experiences as an inmate continued to haunt him, and he regularly battled with depression and thoughts of suicide until, on Saturday, he lost that war.

Watch of part 2 his story on ‘The View’ in November 2014

“When you go over the three years that he spent (in jail) and all the horrific details he endured, it’s unbelievable that this could happen to a teen-ager in New York City,” Paul Prestia, Browder’s lawyer, said. “He didn’t get tortured in some prison camp in another country. It was right here!”