Public Advocate Letitia James proposed the idea that in the incidence that Rikers Island keeps true to their announcement and closes its’ doors in the next 10 years, that New York rename it after Browder.
Kalief Browder was a teenager who served a three year jail sentence (two of which were in Rikers) for a crime he did not commit and was not convicted for. Two years after being released in 2013, Browder committed suicide at the age of 22.
“We must do everything in our power to ensure that our criminal justice system is fair, transparent and accountable,” James said during a press conference detailing a commission report that advocates for the complex to be shut down. Browder’s story recently resurfaced thanks to documentaries such as Ava DuVernay‘s 13th, as well as the Jay Z-produced documentary series on Kalief, himself.
Deion Browder, one of Kalief Browder’s older brothers, is not supportive of renaming Rikers Island after his deceased younger brother. During a Q&A that followed after a screening of TIME: The Kalief Browder Story, on Monday April 3, an audience member asked Deion what he thought about Public Advocate Letitia James wanting Rikers to be renamed after Kalief. The idea of renaming the crux cause of Kalief’s suicide is misguided.
“Naming Rikers Island after Kalief Browder is disrespecting to his name,” Deion said. And we couldn’t agree more.