“Naming Rikers Island after Kalief Browder is disrespecting to his name,” Deion said.
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Public Advocate Letitia James said this past Sunday that if the notorious jail complex actually closes, she wants the city to rename it after Browder, a teenager who served three years in jail (two of which were spent in Rikers) for a crime he did not commit.
Upon being released in 2013 Browder committed suicide two years later. He was 22 years-old.
“We must do everything in our power to ensure that our criminal justice system is fair, transparent and accountable,” James said during a press conference detailing a commission report that advocates for the complex to be shut down.
Although James wants to rename Rikers after Browder, some of his family members have mixed feelings about the tribute.
“It’s really appreciative and thoughtful,” Akeem Browder, Kalief’s older brother, said. “But it’s something we’d have to think over. The people should have this victory.”
“Thankfully the time has come,” Akeem added. “Maybe people will look at the Kalief Island, if they want to dub it that, and remember the tragedy that my brother went through.”
After Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the plan to close Rikers, Jay Z voiced his support of the decision on Twitter.