Browder, who was 16 years old when he was arrested in 2010 and accused of stealing a backpack, was detained on Rikers Island for three years — nearly two of which were spent in solitary confinement — without being tried or convicted of a crime. In 2015, at age 22, he hanged himself at his parents’ home in the Bronx.
The settlement, which is cited in a court document, was confirmed by the city. The Law Department said in a statement: “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.”
“We hope that this settlement and our continuing reforms help bring some measure of closure to the Browder family,” the law department added.
The case is before a judge in state Supreme Court in the Bronx.
The estate’s lawyer, Sanford A. Rubenstein, would not comment on the settlement but said papers would be submitted to the judge “to finalize the resolution of this matter.”
Browder’s case was first chronicled in The New Yorker, which described how he was punched and beaten by correction officers, and endured repeated delays in the clogged Bronx court. Browder also turned down offers to plead guilty, including one that would have allowed for his immediate release, as he insisted on his innocence, the article said. Bronx prosecutors ultimately dropped the charges against him.
Mayor Bill de Blasio has said Browder’s story “helped inspire our efforts” at Rikers Island, where de Blasio announced in December 2014 that the city had ended the use of solitary confinement for 16- and 17-year-olds. The de Blasio administration also developed a plan to move Rikers inmates under 18 to a dedicated jail for youths in the Bronx.
In 2016, President Barack Obama, in announcing a ban on the use of solitary confinement for juveniles in federal prisons, cited Browder’s “constant struggle to recover from the trauma of being locked up alone for 23 hours a day” and his later suicide.
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.