Statement by Carl Dix

Kalief Browder's Life Was Stolen By This System

June 11, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


The blood of Kalief Browder is on the hands of this system. Kalief took his own life on Saturday, June 6, hanging himself at his parents’ home in the Bronx. He was driven to do this by years of torture and brutality he was subjected to while being held at the Rikers Island prison for three years.

Kalief Browder. Photo: Screen Grab from ABC News

Kalief was arrested in the Spring of 2010, at the age of 16, accused of stealing a backpack. He was held in solitary confinement for two of the three years in Rikers, and repeatedly beaten by prison guards and other inmates. Prosecutors several times offered to release Kalief from jail if he would plead guilty to stealing the backpack, but he refused those offers, insisting on his innocence.

After three years in prison, prosecutors dropped the charges against Kalief, and he was released from Rikers. But Kalief was unable to escape the damage that years of torture and abuse by the system had inflicted on him. He was constantly afraid of being attacked on the subway or in his home. In December of 2014, he was hospitalized on a psychiatric ward at Harlem Hospital Center. This past Saturday, Kalief’s mother heard a noise and went out to her backyard. She saw Kalief hanging from a 2nd floor window with a cord around his neck.

The criminal injustice system stole Kalief’s life. It subjected him to the torture of solitary confinement for two years. The prosecutors who refused to indict the cops who murdered Eric Garner, Anthony Rosario, Nicholas Heyward Jr. and so many other victims of killer cops; and who forgot how to prosecute when charges were brought against the cops who murdered Amadou Diallo and Sean Bell; persecuted Kalief for years on a charge of stealing a backpack! They used brutal beatings inflicted on him by prison guards to try to pressure him into copping a plea.

NY Mayor Bill de Blasio released a statement after Kalief died saying his “story inspired our efforts at Rikers.” What a fucking hypocrite. He and his police commissioner, Bill Bratton, are presiding over “Broken Windows” policing that unleashes the NYPD to go after Black and Latino people, especially the youth, for minor violations and even when they’ve done nothing wrong. This criminalization will steal the lives of many more youth, and it is a big part of why this system must be gotten rid of in the only possible way – thru revolution.


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"The film brings you up close inside Cornel West's and Bob Avakian's dialogue: the passion, the audacity, the science, the morality, the revolutionary substance. Two courageous voices modeling a morality that refuses to accept injustice – pouring heart and soul into standing together challenging all of us to fight for a world worthy of humanity."

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co-director of the film


BA Speaks

"No more generations of our youth, here and all around the world, whose life is over, whose fate has been sealed, who have been condemned to an early death or a life of misery and brutality, whom the system has destined for oppression and oblivion even before they are born. I say no more of that."

BAsics 1:13