Akeem Browder Calls Out De Blasio’s Plan To Close Rikers Island

Elijah C. Watson Elijah Watson serves as Okayplayer's News & Culture Editor. When…
Akeem Browder Calls Out De Blasio's Plan To Close Rikers Island
Photo by Jefferson Siegel for New York Daily News
Akeem Browder Calls Out De Blasio's Plan To Close Rikers Island

Photo by Jefferson Siegel for New York Daily News

One of Kalief Browder‘s brothers has called New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio‘s plan to close Rikers Island in the next 10 years a “publicity stunt.”

Akeem Browder is skeptical of de Blasio’s intent to close Rikers, considering the announcement comes during an election year.

“…the fact that it’s going to take 10 years when Mayor de Blasio won’t even be the mayor at the time — I got to think he’s only saying this because it’s election season,” Akeem said in an interview with Vibe. “You can’t have an election season and the people are not being heard, so I think it’s a publicity stunt.”

In the same interview, he also addresses Public Advocate Letitia James desire to have Rikers renamed after Kalief, saying: “Just to think that his name would be attached to some place that critically damaged him is unforgivable. However, I do think if we attached his name to an island that was so notorious, what we could say is the city would always have to acknowledge my brother’s name…It works two ways.”

Akeem, along with fellow brother Deion, has been vocal about criminal justice reform in New York, as well as Kalief’s legacy. During a showing of the premiere episode of TIME: The Kalief Browder Story, Deion was asked his thoughts on renaming Rikers after his younger brother.

“Naming Rikers Island after Kalief Browder is disrespecting his name,” Deion said.

Today comes news that New York will no longer prosecute 16 and 17 year-olds as adult criminals. Although the law will not go into effect until October 2019 for 18 year-olds (and October 2018 for 17 year-olds), this means that teenagers will no longer be subjected to the traumatic and very violent experiences that occur in jails and prisons with people twice their age.

The reform is expected to impact an estimated 28,000 16 and 17-year-olds who are arrested annually, with the state now sending them to family and youth courts, and detaining them in juvenile facilities.

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