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