Written by LeVonda Brown
I recently came across the Kalief Browder story when I was introduced to the Sundance Film Festival. Although the Sundance Film Festival showcases and discusses a plethora of short films, full length movies and documentaries, The Kalief Browder Story stood out the most because of a great man by the name of Shawn Carter. Shawn Carter (Jay Z) has taken an initiative to help bring a story of injustice into fruition by standing firmly behind the production of The Kalief Browder Story as one of the film producers.
It has been over 20 decades since the juvenile justice system has been reconstructed by the United States Government with the intent to turn youth who are considered a menace to society into productive citizens. Before the necessary changes occurred through house of refuge, new reformatories and separating juvenile girls from juvenile boys, a child could be executed for simply cursing his or hers natural parent. Although the government has come a long way legally, injustice still thrives in our justice system.
In 1964, Gerald Gault a 15-year-old boy was sentenced to 6 years in prison for prank calling his neighbor. And just like Gerald Gault, Kalief Browder was unfairly incarcerated. Kalief Browder was 16 years old when he was imprisoned and sent to the Rikers Island Facility without a trial. Kalief spent two years in solitary confinement where he experienced verbal and physical abuse by Riker Island employees.
Kalief Browder story saddened me because at the age of 22 years old he committed suicide. The best part of his teenage life was taken from him due to our broken justice system. It is unacceptable for our justice system to leave room for error when our juveniles are considered property of the state.
According to SpikeTV This Kalief Browder Story will air in March 2017 on Spike TV. It will be a six-part documentary series that we all must see. It will include first person accounts, archival footage and cinematic recreations of key scenes of Browder’s life.