On November 6, Philadelphia rapper Meek Mill was sentenced to two to four years of state imprisonment for probation violation and now a campaign is reaching far and wide #FREEMEEKMILL.
The 30-year old rapper had been on probation for almost a decade for drug and gun charges.
Days after his prison sentence, #FreeMeekMill has become a rallying cry, both online and offline.
Fans, Celebrities gather for #FreeMeekMill rally
On November 13, hundreds of protesters gathered outside the Criminal Justice Center, chanting “Free Meek Mill.”
Famous music and sports celebrities including Eagles star Malcolm Jenkins, rapper Rick Ross and 76ers legend Julius Erving spoke at the event in support of Meek.
Erving said: “The punishment bestowed upon him is excessive. It’s cruel.”
Jenkins, a vocal advocate of criminal justice reform, has made use of his own platform on the NFL field to stage protests during the national anthem before their games.
Meek Mill’s Case Exposes Problems in the Criminal Justice System
Aside from wanting to free Meek Mill, organizers want to use the event to bring attention to problems in the justice system.
Speakers at the event also hope that the rapper’s notorious case will highlight the unfair treatment of people of color in the criminal justice system.
Meek Mill Frequently Violated Probation
In 2008, Meek Mill, born Robert Rihmeek Williams, was convicted on gun and drug charges. He was released a year after under a five-year parole.
Since then, prosecutors said the rapper has repeatedly violated his probation.
Common Pleas Judge Genece Brinkley cited failure to follow a court order restricting his travel and a failed drug test when he gave the sentence on Monday.
Her sentence was against the recommendations of both the prosecutor and the probation officer in the case. Prosecutors had recommended against prison time saying Meek Mill has been recovering since January and has grown as a person since his 2008 crime.