Kalief Browder’s Mother Dies Of A Broken Heart
By The New York Daily News
She died of a broken heart.
The mom of a Bronx man who killed himself after spending three horrific years in Rikers Island has died from complications of a heart attack, her lawyer told the Daily News Sunday.
Venida Browder, 63, the mother of Kalief Browder, died Friday at St. Barnabas Hospital in the Bronx, said her lawyer, Paul Prestia.
Browder, then 22, hanged himself with an air conditioning cord in his Bronx home on June 2015. His case became a cause célèbre, and earlier this month, Jay-Z announced he’d produce a six-part documentary on Kalief’s life.
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“She was a woman of incredible grace and compassion who tirelessly fought for justice for her son Kalief and who championed the civil rights of others in our city,” Prestia said Sunday.
“But the stress from this crusade coupled with the strain of the pending lawsuits against the city and the pain from the death were too much to for her to bear. In my opinion she literally died of a broken heart.”
Kalief was just 16 in May 2010 when he was jailed after a teen accused him of robbing him of his backpack.
His family couldn’t make the $3000 bail, so he spent three years in Rikers, enduring beatings by guards and 400 days total in solitary confinement before the charges against him were ultimately dropped.
Chilling video footage shows Browder slammed to the floor by a correction officer taking him from cell to a shower on Sept. 23, 2012, after Browder appears to say something to the guard.
Browder told the New Yorker magazine he was given extra days in solitary after the guard told correction officials the teen had tried to run away.
“After that happened, to be honest, I was scared to come out of my cell to get in the shower again,” he told the magazine.
More footage shows Browder being beaten by about 10 other teen inmates in a wild brawl on October 20, 2010.
His case prompted Mayor de Blasio to reform the scandal-plague city jail to stop solitary confinement for 16- and 17-year-old inmates.
After getting out of jail, Browder enrolled Bronx Community College, but suffered bouts with depression that triggered other suicide attempts and a stay at the psych ward at Harlem Hospital.
The night before his suicide, Browder told his mother, “Ma, I can’t take it anymore.”