The mother of Kalief Browder, who killed himself after spending three traumatic years in New York City’s Rikers Island jail complex, has died of a “broken heart,” her lawyer told the New York Daily News Sunday.
Venida Browder, 63, died Friday at St. Barnabas Hospital in New York City’s Bronx borough from complications of a heart attack, her lawyer, Paul Prestia, confirmed.
Browder’s son, Kalief, hanged himself with an air-conditioning cord at his Bronx, N.Y., home in June 2015 at the age of 22.
Kalief Browder was just 16 when he was jailed after being accused of stealing a backpack. He spent three traumatic years at Rikers Island without a conviction or even a trial for a crime he maintained that he never committed.
While at Rikers, Kalief Browder was subject to solitary confinement and was reportedly abused by guards and inmates alike.
Jay Z recently announced that he would be producing a six-part documentary about Kalief Browder’s life.
“[Venida Browder] was a woman of incredible grace and compassion who tirelessly fought for justice for her son Kalief and who championed the civil rights of others in our city,” Prestia said Sunday. “But the stress from this crusade, coupled with the strain of the pending lawsuits against the city and the pain from the death, were too much to for her to bear. In my opinion, she literally died of a broken heart.”
Read more at the New York Daily News.