Time: The Kalief Browder Story
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This series that goes behind the headlines to get to the raw truths about what happened to 16-year-old Kalief Browder, who ended up in Rikers for three years for allegedly stealing a backpack. He spent two of those year in solitary confinement, where surveillance footage — obtained by a New Yorker journalist — showed him beaten by an officer and pummeled by groups of inmates. He was under 18, had never been convicted of a crime, and never got a trial.
After several suicide attempts, in jail and after his release, his story ends tragically. But it was Browder’s story that helped lead President Obama to ban the practice of putting juveniles in solitary confinement, and prompted New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio to take action to fix a broken system.
This is a series that needs to be seen in order to understand just how much the deck is stacked against the poor, and in particular African Americans, in our criminal justice system. It will upset and anger, but hopefully drive you to act. Here are some ways you can do that after watching this:
From Sesali Bowen at Refinery29:
“Time is a brave moment of truth-telling that rips the band-aid of fiction off contemporary television retellings of corruption, injustice, and systemic racism in this country.” Full review.
Yourself, and that person you know posting on social media or NextDoor who seems unable to open their minds and empathize.
The rating is TV-MA, and the series shows some of the violence Browder endured while incarcerated, while also confronting head-on the psychological cost of what he endured — with some details about his multiple suicide attempts, and his final attempt, which ended in his death. It also lays bear the heavy toll it took on his family.