The bare facts about Kalief Browder’s experience with the criminal justice system are awful enough. Arrested at 16 after being accused of robbery. Locked up on Rikers Island for more than three years while waiting for his day in court. Beaten while jailed. Kept in solitary confinement for two of those years.
About two years after the charges were dropped and he was released, Browder committed suicide.
The New Yorker chronicled Browder’s ordeal with an in-depth story in 2014. Now Shawn Carter (a.k.a. Jay Z), in collaboration with Weinstein Television, is premiering a six-part documentary at 10 p.m. Wednesday on Spike that details how a teen who always insisted on his innocence wasn’t just lost within the process, but brutalized and forever scarred by it.
“Time: The Kalief Browder Story,” directed by Jenner Furst, blends archival footage (including video from surveillance cameras inside Rikers) with re-creations of moments from Browder’s life and interviews with those closest to him and various law enforcement experts, advocates for reform and journalists.