Jay Z Producing “Time: The Kalief Browder Story” Docuseries
Jay Z (real name Shawn “Jay Z” Carter) is producing a docuseries about the story of Kalief Browder, a Bronx high school student who killed himself in 2015 after being in jail for three years on Rikers Island for allegedly stealing a backpack. Jay is an executive producer and is teaming up with the Weinstein Co. Other ep’s include: Harvey Weinstein, David Glasser, Jenner Furst, Nick Sandow, Julia Willoughby Nason and Michael Gasparri.
Jay Z says of the series,
Kalief Browder is a modern-day prophet; his story a failure of the judicial process,” Carter said. “A young man, and I emphasize young man, who lost his life because of a broken system. His tragedy has brought atrocities to light and now we must confront the issues and events that occurred so other young men can have a chance at justice.
The six part series, called “Time: The Kalief Browder Story”, will air in January. The episodes will feature dramatic reenactments of Browder’s life as well as interviews with friends and family members and archival footage.
Here’s footage of the press conference today of Jay Z, Spike TV and Browder’s mother announcing the new series.
Browder was arrested at age 16, in May 2010, while walking to his home on Arthur Avenue in the Bronx. Browder, charged with second degree robbery, was on probation for a previous arrest and was unable to make $3,500 bail as a result. Maintaining his innocence, he refused to take a plea bargain that would have released him. The case was eventually dismissed and Browder was released in June 2013 after numerous postponements of his case and 31 hearings.
For two of those years, Browder was held in solitary confinement or administrative segregation. The exposure of his case became the impetus for proposed reforms in the New York City criminal justice system.
In June 2015, Browder committed suicide by hanging himself. The conditions of his detention were widely seen as having caused his mental condition and five or six prior attempts at suicide while incarcerated, so much so that six days after his death, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy invoked Browder’s experience in his opinion regarding an unrelated case.
The lawsuit alleging violation of Browder’s rights under the Speedy Trial Clause of the U.S. Constitution continues on behalf of his family, despite his death.
On January 25, 2015, President Barack Obama wrote an criticizing the “overuse” of solitary confinement in American jails. The president based his arguments largely on Browder’s experience.