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Jay Z's answer to police brutality against black men: compassion, not cameras

Jay Z's answer to police brutality against black men: compassion, not cameras
Jay Z spoke Thursday at a press conference announcing a documentary series on Kalief Browder for Spike TV. (Charles Sykes / Associated Press)

Jay Z has a short answer to the problem of police brutality against black men, and in his opinion, it's not body cameras.

It's compassion.

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"If you have compassion for somebody's plight, things that they go through — we're all going to fall short of grace at times," he said at a press conference Thursday in New York City. "Judgment is the enemy of compassion."

It's not a political issue, it's a human issue, said the music mogul born Shawn Carter, who's part of a team working on a documentary series for Spike TV on Kalief Browder, an African American teen who was arrested in 2010 at age 16 on suspicion of stealing a backpack and spent three years at Rikers Island — about two of them in solitary confinement — without being convicted of a crime.

"Having a camera on someone" — presumably both body cameras on police and camera phones in the hands of onlookers — " creates more distrust," Jay Z said.

"If we have to have an exchange and it has to be recorded, something's wrong there," he said. "Something's broken. A camera can't fix the relationship between a person that's hired to protect and serve, and society. It has to be a relationship. It has to be respect on both sides."

Browder attempted suicide once while he was incarcerated and once in 2013 after his release. In June 2015, as recounted by the New Yorker, he hanged himself.

"That's why we're doing this," Jay Z said when asked how he felt about Browder's story not being universally known. He added: "We're here to bring awareness and light to Kalief's story."

Jay Z's Roc Nation has partnered with the Weinstein Co. on the project, "Time: The Kalief Browder Story." It's due out in 2017.

"By the time we're done," said Harvey Weinstein, "everybody will know the story."

Follow Christie D'Zurilla on Twitter @theCDZ.

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