NEW YORK CITY — Akeem Browder, the older brother of Kalief Browder and an outspoken critic of Mayor Bill de Blasio, has thrown his hat in the ring for mayor's race, he told DNAinfo New York.
“I have nothing else to lose,” the 34-year-old said Friday. “They took my mother. They took my brother. To run, even if I lose, it wouldn’t stop me from being an advocate.”
He filed his candidacy papers with Campaign Finance Board and is running on the Green Party ticket, he and the agency said.
His platform is centered on the “criminal injustice” system, he said, adding that it will focus on myriad issues facing New Yorkers, including homelessness, deportation and education.
“The criminal injustice system has never done me or my family any justice,” he said.
Kalief Browder committed suicide after being held in solitary confinement on Rikers Island for years after being unable to pay bail for his arrest stemming from a backpack theft at the age of 16.
Akeem Browder, who said he has been an activist "since he was a kid," has called for a number of reforms to the criminal justice system, including shutting down Rikers Island and "banning the box" that formerly incarcerated individuals have to check off on job applications.
“We should not be satisfied with the status quo,” he said.
He blasted the mayor for paying “lip service” in his plan to close Rikers in 10 years and called called the Raise the Age bill, passed earlier this year and backed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a “watered-down” version of the one advocates wanted.
As mayor, Akeem Browder said he would not buckle on issues he feels strongly about.
“I don’t think we should be setting the bar low,” he said.
He said he would rein in city spending and reallocate funds toward social services like drug-treatment programs. He would also push for more community policing, particularly in communities of color.
He also said the mayor doesn’t deserve a second term, calling him a “jerk” and claiming “he favors not the people but the corporations.”
“He doesn’t do anything good for us," he said, "so why should we give him four more years to F us over?”