Akeem Browder was once Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s guest at the annual State of the State address. Now, Browder is endorsing Cynthia Nixon, Cuomo’s opponent in the Democratic primary, because he says the incumbent didn’t deliver on promises made in that very address.
Browder has become one of the faces of advocates seeking to end cash bail requirements for those arrested on minor offenses and to improve practices at Rikers Island, the New York City jail. He is the brother of Kalief Browder, who spent three years in Rikers awaiting charges that he stole a backpack. The charges were dropped, but Kalief reportedly struggled after being released and committed suicide in 2015 at age 22.
Akeem Browder has said the governor failed to achieve promised reforms in criminal justice.
“What the families have received from our current governor has been lip service,” Browder said in a statement endorsing Nixon. “While he received accolades, we received no accountability and no justice.”
Cuomo had Akeem, 35, as one of his guests at his State of the State address in January, calling him out by name and saying: “Your brother did not die in vain.”
Cuomo called for ending cash bail and blamed the Republican-led Senate for blocking his proposal.