I am totally disturbed by young Kalief’s plight and the system’s failure to protect him and his civil rights. The system should be held accountable for this tragedy.
John Legend hasn’t been keeping quiet on police brutality or mass incarceration. Now, he is taking it a step further with his essay for Vulture speaking out on the suicide of Kalief Browder, the young man who spent three years on Rikers Island without a conviction.
Legend is justifiably upset about Browder’s treatment while incarcerated, and he recalls meeting him in 2013 after seeing him in a television interview.
New York failed Kalief. The list of things that went wrong in his case begins with his first encounter with the NYPD, whose practice of targeting black teens is well documented. The idea that being accused of stealing a backpack would lead to his arrest and detention would be absurd if it weren’t actually tragic. He should not have been tried as an adult, or had prosecutors, defenders, and judges so overwhelmed with cases that he waited three…
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