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.