Why You Need to Watch “Time: The Kalief Browder Story”

I recently started watching the "Time: The Kalief Browder Story" on Netflix and I encourage everyone to check out this compelling six episode series. It follows the life and tragic case of Kalief Browder, a teen from the Bronx, who spent three years in jail even though he was never convicted of a crime. Browder committed suicide in 2015. Here are five moments that stood out to me from the first episode, titled "Part 1 - The System."


1. Kalief Browder was 16 when he was arrested for allegedly stealing a backpack, it is noted in the film. He spent over 1,000 days on Rikers Island. More than 700 of those days in solitary confinement. He had over 30 court dates, but there were many holes in Browder’s case, including errors in the police paperwork of what supposedly happened, which resulted in Browder’s arrest on May 15, 2010. In the criminal complaint, it was alleged that the robbery happened on May 2, 2010. In another police report, it’s alleged that it was May 8, 2010.


2. Jay Z, one of series' producers seen below with Browder's brother Akeem, sister Nicole and mother Venida, calls Browder a profit. “Kalief moved so many people," he says. "I just felt compelled to meet with him. I believe our profits come in many shapes and forms. Sometimes our profits come in the form of young, undeveloped energy that will teach all us grownups how to love better and have more compassion. And Kalief Browder was a profit.”


3. It’s hard to watch, but there is intense footage of inmates being beaten and abused. Cut between these images is footage of Browder being interviewed. “…through stuff that I’ve been through prior, I feel like I have a lot of demons walking with me,” says Browder. “Not from anything that I did, but stuff that I’ve seen and been through and it’s like it just won’t leave me. I can’t go to sleep at night.”


4. Browder alleges that he was wrongfully arrested by the NYPD, denied a fair and speedy trial by the Bronx District Attorney and was beaten, starved and tortured at Rikers Island, the film emphasizes. His mom points out in the film the holes Kalief punched through the walls after he returned home from jail. “This is how he releases his anger,” she says. “When he thinks about Rikers, he gets really upset.”


5. 11 different attorney’s turned down representing Browder after his arrest for allegedly stealing a backpack in 2010, saying he had no case. Finally, Civil Right Attorney Paul Prestia took his case and Browder was granted a deposition after he filed a lawsuit against the NYPD, the Bronx DA, and the Department of Correction. During his legal testimony, Browder was asked things like: “Were you ever screened for mental health issues?” A deposition is not about addressing the issues that you raise," says civil rights activist Al Sharpton in the film. "It's to discredit and destroy you if they can." 

Click HERE to check out the "Time: The Kalief Browder Story" trailer