Venida Browder, the mother of Kalief Browder — who committed suicide last year after spending three years in prison without trial — has died of a “broken heart,” says her attorney.
Browder, 63, reportedly suffered complications from a heart attack; however, her lawyer, Paul Prestia, is convinced she could no longer stand the pain after losing her 22-year-old son.
“She was a woman of incredible grace and compassion who tirelessly fought for justice for her son Kalief and who championed the civil rights of others in our city,” Prestia said.
“But the stress from this crusade coupled with the strain of the pending lawsuits against the city and the pain from the death were too much to for her to bear. In my opinion she literally died of a broken heart.”
In 2015, Kalief Browder hanged himself with an air conditioning cord in his Bronx home. He was just 16 when he was jailed in May 2010 after a teen accused him of robbing him of his backpack. His family couldn’t afford the $3,000 bail, so Kalief spent three years in Rikers Island prison, where he was beaten by both guards and inmates and spent 400 days total in solitary confinement.
The charges against him were ultimately dropped.
Earlier this month, Jay Z announced that he was producing a six-part documentary about Kalief’s life and the flaws of the criminal justice system. Venida Browder attended the press conference with Jay Z at the time.
“Kalief Browder is a modern-day prophet, his story a failure of the judicial process,” Jay Z said at the time. “A young man — and I emphasize young man — who lost his life because of a broken system. His tragedy has brought atrocities to light, and now we must confront the issues and events that occurred so other young men can have a chance at justice.”