Politicians often try to downplay or hide unpleasant parts of their history. But 34-year-old Akeem Browder, who is running for mayor on the Green Party ticket, is getting it out in the open instead. Back in 1998, Browder was arrested after his girlfriend's mother caught them having oral sex. The police charged him in connection with a string of assaults on young girls in his Bronx neighborhood. "It was like kidnapping, rape, forcible touching, sodomy, a bunch of stuff," he said. "They threw the book at me." The then-15-year-old Browder ended up pleading guilty to just one charge—sodomy—which required him to register as a Level Three sex offender. He later spent a year-and-a-half in prison after pleading guilty to burglary and identity theft charges in 2006. Browder says those experiences left a mark on his little brother, Kalief, who police accused of stealing a backpack a few years later. After his arrest in 2012, Kalief spent three years at Rikers Island waiting for a trial. Prosecutors eventually dropped the charges and Kalief was released, but he was traumatized by the experience. Two years ago, he took his own life. "My only thought of what Kalief could have been thinking is, 'I can't take a plea bargain, 'cause I'm gonna be just like Akeem,'" Browder said. Since then, Browder has become an advocate for juvenile justice reform and a vocal activist in the effort to shutter Rikers Island. While he notes that none of the other mayoral candidates may have criminal records, so many other young black men do that it's not fair to judge him based on his arrests. "Is that a reason to discriminate and think that that person doesn't have what it takes to be a mayor, a servant?" Browder asked. Browder says his past has helped shape who he is. Instead of hiding it, he's confronting it - and is running for mayor in part to reform the criminal justice system.