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Kalief Browder's Family Settles With NYC For $3.3 Million

"While no money can ever bring Kalief Browder back, we hope the settlement of this case and the changes that took place at Rikers will result in this not happening to any other victims."

Kalief Browder's family has reportedly reached a settlement in their malicious prosecution and wrongful death suit against New York City for $3.3 million, The New York Times reports. The Browder family's attorney, Sanford A. Rubenstein, confirmed the news on Thursday (Jan. 24).

"It’s a fair settlement, given the tragedy of what happened here," Mr. Rubenstein said of the court's decision. "While no money can ever bring Kalief Browder back, we hope the settlement of this case and the changes that took place at Rikers will result in this not happening to any other victims."

The New York City Law Department also released a statement following the ruling. "Kalief Browder’s story helped inspire numerous reforms to the justice system to prevent this tragedy from ever happening again, including an end to punitive segregation for young people on Rikers Island," the statement reads. "We hope that this settlement and our continuing reforms help bring some measure of closure to the Browder family."

As previously reported, Browder was just 16 years old when he was arrested in 2010 for allegedly stealing a backpack. He was later detained at Rikers Island for three years – two of which were spent in solitary confinement – as he awaited trial. He served time in prison having never been convicted of a crime. In 2015, Browder died by suicide in his parents' home in the Bronx at the age of 22.

His story prompted a lot of media coverage and support, which ultimately led to change in the prison system.  In 2014, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York took legal action against the city for its unnecessary and excessive force" on adolescents in Rikers Island. In Jan. 2015, the New York City Council voted to end solitary confinement for inmates under the age of 21. Jay-Z also expanded the reach of Kalief's story with the 2017 docuseries, Time: The Kalief Browder Story.

New York has plans to close Rikers by 2027.

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Stockton Launches Basic Income Program Gifting Residents With $500 A Month

Stockton, California has launched its basic income plan gifting dozens of residents with $500 a month, the Huffington Post reports.

Last year, Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs responded to criticism over the program which was designed to help close the poverty gap as residents struggle to stay afloat amid California's skyrocketing rent prices and increase in homelessness.

The basic income plan -- the first of its kind to be launched by a U.S. city -- was announced by Tubbs and the Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration (SEED) in 2017. Under the program, 130 residents will receive a monthly stipend via prepaid debit cards for the next 18 months.

Exciting! Congrats to the team, the city, and to the recipients. We’ve learned so much getting to this point and I am looking forward to learning more. Stockton lead the way @stocktondemo #ReinventStockton https://t.co/j2OPkA4zG8

— Michael Tubbs (@MichaelDTubbs) February 15, 2019

Stockton's median household income is just under $50,000 a year. Residents are chosen through an “algorithm” to make sure that the selection is representative of the community’s diversity.

The money is funded by a grant from the Economic Security Project, in addition to other funds raised, Tubbs said.

“There’s no restriction on how people can use the money,” he pointed out. “If people use it for drugs and alcohol that’s there prerogative. [But] if I didn’t believe in the capacity of the folks who elected me to make good decisions, I probably shouldn’t be mayor.”

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Andrew Burton

Boyfriend Suspected Of Killing Girlfriend And Her Son Jumps In Front Of Train

An ex-con who's suspected of brutally beating his girlfriend and her son to death committed suicide by jumping in front of Metro-North train six hours after the murders.

According to The New York Daily News, Hector Cruz, 51, is believed to have stabbed and used a workout weight to bludgeon Marisol Ortiz, 51 and her 14-year-old son Alanche del Orbe in their Bronx apartment.

Ortiz's 21-year-old daughter, Chantal del Orbe, found the bodies after returning home from a friend's house. Before bursting into tears, Chantal hung a birthday banner over a makeshift memorial created for her brother who was killed a day before his 15th birthday.

“He was sweet all the time,” she said of her brother. “It was all love in that house.”

Grieving friends, family and those in the neighborhood say they have no doubt Cruz is the killer. “Go in peace my aunt with my nephew. Wow, I feel so powerless why do things like this have to happen. My God. Mourning. What a great loss," Emiluz Ortiz wrote on Facebook.

Cruz was released from prison in 2016 after serving seven years for first-degree assault, and while speaking with the Daily News Chantal said Cruz showcased signs of possessiveness.

“He was a bit jealous. He was strange. He would look through (Ortiz’s) phone but he was never aggressive. He always said he wanted the family united,” she said. “He never really convinced me. Days before he was acting strange.”

The crime was so severe, Ortiz’s cousin Haydee Leonardo said it's affected the funeral.

“They’re going to cremate the bodies because they were told that their faces were so brutally beaten, you can’t see who they were. You can’t see their faces,” he said.

Cruz was reportedly killed by a northbound Metro-North train at the Hartsdale station Sunday morning (Feb. 17) at 9:45 AM.

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Alberto Pezzali

Discrimination Based On Hair Can Result In A $250K Penalty In NYC

New York City's Commission on Human Rights will reveal guidelines later this week for the legal recourse a person can take if they've been targeted at work, school or a public space based on their hair.

According to the New York Times, the law applies to anyone in New York City but is aimed at helping African-Americans who are disproportionately victimized based on the texture or style of their hair. The guidelines specifically read "natural hair, treated or untreated hairstyles such as locs, cornrows, twists, braids, Bantu knots, fades, Afros, and/or the right to keep hair in an uncut or untrimmed state.”

When enacted, individuals who have been harassed, demoted or fired, the city's commission can issue a penalty for up to $250,000 and there is no cap on damages. The commission can also force an internal policy changes and rehirings at companies in question.

News of the guidelines comes just two months after a New Jersey teen was forced to cut his locs in order to continue participating in a wrestling match. The decision sparked outrage by many who found the choices discriminatory.

The guidelines obtained by the Times are considered the first in the country and are based on the argument one's hair is intrinsic to one's race and is protected under the city's human rights laws.

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