Rapper Meek Mill Advocates Criminal Justice Reform in Philly
A rapper, a police officer and a judge walked into a courtroom…
The police officer and the judge went home. The rapper won a sponsored vacation to state jail, an infamous hashtag #FreeMeek, and surreptitiously became an activist for criminal justice reform.
Often the narrative delivered via mass media skews details and withholds facts to sensationalize a story to intentionally provide a false narrative to increase subscribers and viewership. Such is the case in the saga of Pennsylvania rapper, Meek Mill.
Social media and other media outlets mostly reported the parts of his calamity aligning with the stereotypical antics of a public figure, who happens to be a rapper. The flash, the drugs, the altercations and the incarceration. What we did not hear about in great detail are facts like…
- Meek Mill is a business owner who provides jobs to several employees.
- Meek Mill is a father to a son.
- Meek Mill admits to being a recovered opioid addict, who has completed a court ordered treatment program.
- Meek Mill is a regular human being, named Robert Williams.
- Meek Mill was the victim of a judicial system operating on archaic principles designed to divvy stiffer penalties to men of color.
Currently, out on bail and facing a potential retrial having the potential to send him to prison for 2-4 years for probation violation, Meek Mill’s legal woes began at the age of approximately 19 years old. He was arrested on drug and gun charges, in which he accepted a plea bargain for 10 years + probation verses serving jail time. Over this 10 year period, he has been subjected to random drug tests, denied the ability to travel for work and harassed by police officers and a judicial system determined to make an example of him.
Meek Mill’s probation journey included 5 probation violations, in which Mill contends police officers targeted him with a heightened sense of enthusiasm because of his entertainment status. The incident providing the catalyst to his subsequent re-arrest for probation violation was born of a lapse in judgment leading to what should have been classified at best a verbal warning to desist and at worse a traffic violation. Meek Mill was charged with reckless driving involving a motor vehicle (ATV). The rap star contends he “popped a wheelie” on an ATV, in Manhattan, NY. The police arrested Mill and charged him with a felony instead of opting to give a citation for a traffic violation. This incident and four other minor infractions (probation violations), such as testing positive for marijuana use led to the judge’s decision to rescind Mill’s probation.
Why is this a problem? Well, in the state of Pennsylvania like many others in the United States, men of color are disproportionately given costly and lengthy probationary terms and/or stringent prison sentences. According to Persinger (2016), “A new study has found African-Americans are incarcerated in state prisons at a rate 5.1 times the imprisonment of whites.” And “Pennsylvania — with a rate of 1 in 20 — ranked No. 8 among all states for the rate of adult Black male incarceration.” Meek Mill has the misfortune of being a resident of a state that is known for the mass incarceration of African-Americans and the terms and length of his probation are not conducive to rehabilitation, nor are they designed for successful completion.
Today, more than ever we need people to advocate for criminal justice reform. Meek Mill has pledged to use his platform and voice to help others plagued with legal woes similar to his own.
We are here to help you and your loved ones with navigating through the judicial process. If you’re loved one has been charged for the first time with a felony and needs representation from an attorney dedicated to fighting for fair dispositions and justice, hire Goins Law.
Persinger, R. (2016, June 21). Black jail rate in state at high. Retrieved May 14, 2018, from http://www.phillytrib.com/news/black-jail-rate-in-state-at-high/article_811abf15-9dac-5510-a1bc-140d23acece6.html
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Meek ended up being one of the fortunate that was financially able to contend with the powers that misuse and be. It is a horrible thing to see men in our community become a statistic but have no ability to fight the injustices placed upon them.
Hopefully those that were so hellbent on Meek’s release will take a deeper look into the misuse of “justice” around them and work towards making those who abuse the system more accountable!!
While the terms of probation may have been lengthy, he agreed to the terms. Plus, he violated the terms on multiple occasions. At some point, there has to be personal responsibility in play. Systemic racism didn’t force him to use drugs and catch gun charges. He did that on his own
Great blog, very detailed. Nice to see that young man advocating for justice.
Well written and very informative on Meek Mill kept me engaged throughout the article
It’s extremely annoying and upsetting to have to STILL read articles that display these facts in regards to black males. But this is also a “norm” that plenty of black boys and men deal with daily. Unfortunately, our so called justice system wasn’t designed to give justice to black people. While our system absolutely needs reform, black boys and men must also STOP doing stuff to give THEM a reason to be checking for them. Both sides must accept responsibility.
I’m deeply saddened, but never surprised to hear that in 2018 a black man is still treated like this. If any of the offenses he had committed were by a white man he would have never seen the inside of a courtroom much less receive the sentence he was given or will be given if found guilty.
Attitudes toward people of color, particularly males need to change. Many of us are raising sons and we fear for their safety in this country.
I had seen the hashtag and was unaware of what it meant. I’m a person that knows what is printed in social media, tabloids and newspapers sometimes does not tell you the entire story. Even when I heard Mill’s interview on CBS This Morning there was more I didn’t know. This article has informed me in detail that this was not an one time police harassment of the police after his sentence of probation. Why? Why was he still made an example of after the judge granted his sentence? So, if a black man of money and the potential of making more money in his future is still being harassed, what hope is there for the everyday black youth or man?
As I read this blog, I heard a soundtrack because of Ms Hicks writing. I heard James Brown “I’m Black and I’m Proud “. I am so proud of Meek Mills’ advocation of justice for all. He knows if it can happen to him and he has the means to hire an attorney to represent him in court and not be reduced to a public defender it’s happening to far more young black men on a daily occurrence than we hear or read about. I would like to follow this blog as Meek Mills journey for justice becomes the equality for all.
Really good article. He was very fortunate that he can afford a legal team to help release him, and realizes the power and privilege available to him. He never said he was innocent. Race will always come into play when we’re talking about the justice system and the length and type of punishments that are dealt out to people of color versus others for any offense.