Kalief Browder, the 22-year-old who was horrendously abused by police officers on Rikers Island as a teen, was facing new charges shortly before his suicide on Saturday, the New York Daily News reports.
Browder’s lawyer calls the charges against Kalief and his brother Kamal, 22, “baseless.” Both brothers were facing disorderly conduct and resisting arrest charges on Wednesday from an April incident. Kamal tells the Daily News the arrest stemmed from a mugging on Prospect Ave. in the Bronx. Kamal told his brother he was mugged and they both agreed to confront the mugger to get his personal items back.
After addressing the alleged mugger near his home, his mother told the brothers to leave the vicinity.
Kamal says after they left, they were followed by the suspect’s friends and he was slapped. Kalief stepped in to defend his brother as the police approached them.
“He was defending me,” Kamal said of his brother. “I was trying to hug my brother, tell him, ‘Come on, ‘Come on’ when cops pushed me and my brother away and arrested us.”
A criminal complaint says the brothers ignored orders to move along. “They wrapped their arms around each other tightly, and they further refused to let go of each other,” the complaint reads. The brothers, according to the complaint, “flailed their arms and twisted their bodies, refusing to be handcuffed.”
The men were held overnight in Central Booking, bringing back haunting flashbacks for Kalief. He was due to be in court Wednesday with his brother to fight the charges.
His lawyer Paul Prestia says the court is only willing to drop the charges if Kamal presents them with Browder’s death certificate. Prestia says the whole ordeal proves Browder’s beliefs about the justice system working against innocent people.
“The last time Mr. Browder had a case in Bronx County, it took them three years to dismiss the charges, and that’s why he’s no longer with us,” an angry Prestia said at the hearing. “They were baseless charges. They will never prove this case, they’ll never try this case, they’ll never win this case. (Bronx District Attorney) Robert Johnson couldn’t do the right thing once for Kalief? It’s the least he could do.”
The New York social activist group Justice League NYC will hold a special candlelight vigil forKalief at the Metropolitan Detention Complex in Washington Heights on Thursday.
— jazzì jöhnsoń (@bubbleMAMI) June 10, 2015
Kalief was kept in solitary confinement during his time on Rikers Island at the age of 16. After he was falsely accused of stealing a backpack, he was interred and beat by both fellow prisoners and officers. He was released without a trial at the age of 18 and subsequently battled depression and multiple suicide attempts.
Mayor Bill de Blasio ordered that the practice of solitary confinement be stopped for juveniles in light of Kalief’s harrowing incident.
SOURCE: NY Daily News | VIDEO CREDIT: NDN