Family of Kalief Browder settles lawsuit for $3.3 million over his suicide

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The estate of Kalief Browder was awarded $3.3 million by New York City to settle a lawsuit after the Bronx teen spent three years at Rikers Island over the accusation that he had stolen a backpack.

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The city’s Law Department said in a statement: “Kalief Browder’s story helped inspire numerous reforms to the justice system to prevent this tragedy from ever happening again, including an end to punitive segregation for young people on Rikers Island.

“We hope that this settlement and our continuing reforms help bring some measure of closure to the Browder family,” the statement added.

The story of his life played out in a six-part Spike TV documentary, The Kalief Browder Story.

Produced by Jay-Z, the documentary followed the story of Browder and his time at the New York City jail facility after being apprehended by police who suspected him of swiping the stolen backpack. His family was unable to pay the $3,000.00 bail to get him out, which led to Browder, who was 16 at the time, to spend three-years behind bars, two of those years in solitary confinement.

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The case against Browder was ultimately dropped, but the damage was done.

At 22, Browder hung himself in in his Bronx home in 2015.

The family’s lawyer, Sanford A. Rubenstein, said they are waiting for a judge “to finalize the resolution of this matter.”

“It’s a fair settlement, given the tragedy of what happened here,” Mr. Rubenstein said. “While no money can ever bring Kalief Browder back, we hope the settlement of this case and the changes that took place at Rikers will result in this not happening to any other victims.”

After the death of his brother, Akeem Browder began pushing for reforms to end a cash bail system that takes advantage of non-violent offenders.