It’s rare for Sheriff’s deputies and prison inmates to work together on anything, but apparently abusing fellow inmates is one area where some have found common ground.
Inmates say that violence is an ever-day part of life in Rikers Island. Sometimes that violence comes from other prisoners, and other times it comes from the guards. But recently, surveillance video captured a guard teaming up with inmates to beat a teenager who had been locked behind Rikers Island walls.
The two surveillance videos that document all of this were originally obtained by The New Yorker. They clearly show Kalief Browder, who was 16 at the time, being beating by guards and inmates alike. All the while, he had been locked up in Rikers for allegedly stealing a backpack that he was later proven to have never stolen.
Browder had been arrested back in 2010 for the backpack accusation, and he spent the next three years at Rikers Island just waiting for his “speedy trial” that he had been guaranteed (sort of like the guarantee of being innocent until proven guilty, no cruel and unusual punishment and so on).
While awaiting trial, without ever having been convicted of a crime, the New Yorker’s Jennifer Gonnerman documented that he had been constantly subjected to beatings from prisoners and guards alike.
In the first of the two videos obtained by the Times, we see an incident from 2012, where Browder can be seen walking through the solitary confinement unit, both handcuffed and escorted by a deputy. But in spite of being completely restrained, the guard snaps and throws him to the floor, and grinds his face down into the ground.
The second video the Times obtained is from even earlier, back in 2010, shortly after Browder was arrested. The video documents Browder being beaten by a large group of inmates, while two guards looked on and did nothing to stop the massive assault.
Watch both videos in the clip below…
Browder was eventually released in 2013. All charges against him were dropped. He never stole the backpack in the first place, and eventually the courts had to drop all charges… but not before he was repeatedly tortured in prison for years first.
He later told Gonnerman in an interview that after the incident where the guard beat him, he was given more time in solitary confinement to punish him for nothing more than being beaten while handcuffed.
(Article by M. David and Jackson Marciana)