20-year-old Kalief Browder may be physically free, but mentally he is still trapped behind bars on Rikers, where every day was a battle to survive.
"It's very hard when you are dealing with dudes that are big and have weapons and shanks and there are gangs," says Browder, "you know if you don't give your phone call up, or you don't give them what they want you know they are going to jump you. And it's very scary."
In May of 2010, Browder was a 16-year-old tenth grader, walking home on Arthur Avenue in the Bronx after a party. "This guy comes out of nowhere and says I robbed him. And the next thing I know they are putting cuffs on me. I don't know this dude. And I do over three years for something I didn't do."
Browder was imprisoned for three years without charges, and the courts tried to coerce him into taking a plea deal. Eventually the charges against him were dropped without explanation, and without any apology.
"They just dismissed the case and they think it's all right. No apology, no nothing," Browder said, "they just say 'case dismissed, don't worry about nothing'. What do you mean, don't worry about nothing? You just took 3 years of my life."
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