Time for Change: Spike’s Docu-Series Endures Kalief Browder’s Fight for Justice In a Broken System

“When they sent me to Rikers Island, I was 16. I would say it was like hell on Earth. Sometimes, you know, I feel like I’m never going to be the same. You know, I smile, and I joke a lot. But, you know, deep down, I’m a mess because like I’m 21, and on the inside I feel like I’m 40.” – The late Kalief Browder – Time: The Kalief Browder Story

Spike’s documentary series Time: The Kalief Browder Story  exposes our broken U.S. justice system through the tragic story of Kalief Browder—a  young black man who committed suicide in 2015 after spending three years on New York City’s Riker’s Island prison for allegedly stealing a backpack.

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Image courtesy of Spike.

Browder fought to clear his name until he could not fight any longer. With help from public officials and other media outlets, Spike is picking up where he left off.

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Over Three Years In Rikers for Allegedly Stealing a Backpack – Spike Tells the Tragic Story of Kalief Browder

Spike‘s newest documentary series, Time: The Kalief Browder Story, is going to make you uncomfortable.

And that’s exactly why you need to watch it.

In 2010, Kalief Browder was stopped in the Bronx on his way home from a party. Police told the 16-year-old and his friend that they were suspects in a robbery. A man claimed they had stolen his backpack. Browder pleaded his innocence, and asked officers to search him. They found nothing.

The boys were cuffed and brought to the precinct, where they were fingerprinted and locked in a holding cell. According to Jennifer Gonnerman’s 2014 exposé for the New Yorker, Browder expected to be released shortly.

Instead, he spent the next three and a half years incarcerated on Rikers Island.

In this time, Browder experienced such gruesome conditions he attempted to take his own life, twice. He was attacked by guards and fellow inmates, robbed, and thrown in solitary confinement. When offered a plea bargain that would let him leave Rikers if he admitted guilt, the teen maintained his innocence and waited for his day in trial.

That day never came. Instead, the case fizzled out. The man accusing Browder of stealing his backpack—a backpack which never turned up as evidence—returned to his home country.

Without evidence or a witness to testify against Browder, the prosecutors gave up. There was no trial. There was no verdict. Browder was summarily released. After three and a half years, Browder finally returned to his Bronx neighborhood. It didn’t feel like home anymore.

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MTV Votes Down Discrimination and Inequality With a Wall We Can All Get Behind

MTV’s Elect This campaign is all about letting the voters do the talking. Social justice, national security, healthcare and the economy, climate change, and immigration and refugees are what MTV’s millennial voters are talking about.

The latest campaign, Beyond the Wall, highlights one major issue—immigration rights and reform.

In a final push to stir the conversation and provide a platform for these issues, the network built a massive interactive video installation in New York City’s Herald Square. The 10-foot by 35-foot wall evokes imagery of the Berlin Wall with barbed wire and graffiti emblazoned on its mock-concrete façade.

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“What kind of country do you want to live in? One that builds walls or tears them down?” – MTV’s Elect This Campaign. Photo courtesy of MTV.

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After More Police Shooting Deaths and Violence, Viacom asks What Now?

On Tuesday, July 5, onlookers recorded Alton Sterling’s death in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and uploaded the video to the internet.

One day later, Philandro Castille was shot during a routine traffic stop in Falcon Heights, Minnesota; his girlfriend livestreamed the gruesome aftermath before police confiscated her iPhone.

A day after that, a sniper’s bullets killed five police officers and injured seven others during a protest of the recent events in Dallas.

On Friday, July 8, MTV News and BET News held an open forum for artists, activists, and fans to address the traumatic events of the past week. What Now? aired on 10 Viacom networks and streamed live on YouTube and Facebook. Viewers contributed via the #WhatNow hashtag and call-ins to MTV and BET.

MANHATTAN, NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK, UNITED STATES - 2016/07/10: Several hundred activists gathered for a rally in Times Square to protest alleged police brutality in the deaths of several African-American men, after which they staged a march through Midtown Manhattan, culminating in another rally in Union Square Park. (Photo by Andy Katz/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Several hundred activists gathered for a rally in Times Square to protest recent acts of violence against the black community. Photo courtesy of Getty.

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