Meek Mill, Rapper Whose Imprisonment Sparked Outcry, Released on Bail

Meek Mill in November 2017. His case attracted a wave of attention for how the criminal justice system treats black people. Photograph: Matt Rourke/AP

High-profile figures such as Jay-Z had rallied around Mill, who was sentenced to two to four years after violating a decade-old probation


Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Meek Mill, rapper whose imprisonment sparked outcry, released on bail” was written by Jake Nevins, for theguardian.com on Tuesday 24th April 2018 21.32 UTC

The supreme court of Pennsylvania has ordered that the rapper Meek Mill be released from prison on bail on Tuesday afternoon.

In November, the 30-year-old rapper, whose real name is Robert Rihmeek Williams, was sentenced to two to four years in prison after violating the terms of a probation deal agreed to after he was arrested on drug and gun possession charges in 2008.

Mill’s case had become a flashpoint for criticism of the criminal justice system and its treatment of African Americans. His imprisonment prompted an outcry from celebrities such as Kevin Hart, Colin Kaepernick and Jay-Z, who penned a New York Times op-ed late last year in which he wrote the situation was “just one example of how our criminal justice system entraps and harasses hundreds of thousands of black people every day”.

The state’s highest court overruled Judge Genece Brinkley, who denied Meek Mill bail last week after prosecutors from Philadelphia’s district attorney’s office asked that his original drug conviction be vacated. Supporters gathered around the courthouse advocating for his release, including Mill’s son and mother, noting that the arresting officer, Reginald Graham, was on a list of cops “considered tainted and unworthy of testimony by the DA’s office”, according to Philadelphia magazine.

On Tuesday, Mill told TMZ: “I’d like to thank God, my family, my friends, my attorneys, my team at Roc Nation including Jay-Z, Desiree Perez, my good friend Michael Rubin, my fans, the Pennsylvania supreme court and all my public advocates for their love, support and encouragement during this difficult time.

“To the Philadelphia district attorney’s office, I’m grateful for your commitment to justice – not only for my case, but for others that have been wrongfully jailed due to police misconduct,” he continued. “Although I’m blessed to have the resources to fight this unjust situation, I understand that many people of color across the country don’t have that luxury and I plan to use my platform to shine a light on those issues.”

Minutes after news broke, Mill wrote on Twitter: “I plan to work closely with my legal team to overturn this unwarranted conviction and look forward to reuniting with my family and resuming my music career.”

According to the New York Times journalist Daniel Victor, who spoke to Michael Rubin, who co-owns the Philadelphia 76ers, Mill may even attend tonight’s game.

Hart shared his reaction to the decision in an Instagram post. “Meek Mill is Frrrrreeeeeeeee ….I just left from seeing him in jail with @michaelgrubin and we were just told that he is being released. Woooooooow……Stand Up Philadelphia!!!!!”

Mill, who is managed by Jay-Z’s Roc Nation, is best known for the 2012 single Young & Getting It, which debuted at No 2 on the Billboard Hot 200.

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