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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Injustice in the courts

Meek Mill’s sentence sparks protests

North Philadelphia native and rap superstar Robert Rihmeek “Meek Mill” Williams is currently facing a two to four year jail sentence over a violation of his probation, dating back to a gun and drug charge from 2008. The 30-year-old Hip-Hop icon’s current violation has nothing to do with drugs or guns however. Rather, it was issued for riding a dirt bike recklessly and getting into a fight.

“I’ve never seen someone get arrested for popping a wheelie on the street in the middle of a rap video with no one else around, [where] no one else could be endangered,”  Meek’s lawyer Joe Tacopina said in an interview with Vibe Magazine.

For the last decade, Judge Genece Brinkley has been responsible for monitoring Meek’s probation. Meek has repeatedly violated his probation making Brinkley’s decision to sentence him unsurprising even if it was unjust.

Meek was 21-years-old when he was originally faced with the gun and drug charge, and to this day it has hovered over him throughout his blossoming music career. Meek’s previous violation charge, a misdemeanour assault hailing from a fight with an employee at a St. Louis airport, had just recently been dropped.

Whether he intends to or not, Meek no longer represents an individual, but an entire process and civil rights movement. His case will now shine a spotlight on the issue of criminal justice, and Meek will be an exemplary figure in a fight against inequality in the court systems.

Rap moguls such as Jay-Z and Nipsey Hussle have rallied around Meek and are searching for support from all angles of pop culture. Even Drake, who Meek had been involved in an extremely popular and controversial beef with, exclaimed “Free Meek Mill” at a show in Melbourne, Australia.

The support for Meek and his case has spread far beyond the rap and Philadelphia communities. Football player and civil rights activist, Colin Kaepernick, has voiced his opinion on the issue.

“Disproportionately, America’s prisons are filled with Black bodies,” Kaepernick said in an Instagram post.

The young, and currently unemployed, quarterback fights a similar battle and is using his social presence and fame to bring attention to an issue that frequently goes unnoticed or unattended to. Many see this case as another failure to comply to equal rights and criminal justice enforcement by the U.S. court and federal prison systems.

In an attempt to fight for an appeal to the charges, 76ers legend Julius Erving teamed up with Rick Ross, and various Philadelphia Eagles players, rallying in front of the Philadelphia Criminal Justice Center.

“I’m here to support my brother Meek Mill,” said Ross. “I want y’all to understand that if it take Meek Mill to draw this attention, we gonna use Meek Mill to draw this attention that is gonna speak for so many others.”

A large group of fans and supporters gathered to protest for those whose voices go unheard, and presented their discontent with the judge rather enthusiastically and with plenty of expletives.

The FBI is currently investigating Judge Brinkley under charges of bias and “interest in her potential relationships.”

Meek, up until recently, was placed in solitary confinement, but was just transferred to general population. Motions for his release have been filed by Meek’s lawyers, and Tacopina is hopeful for change.

“I’m confident that this pervasion of justice is going to be rectified,” Tacopina also said in Vibe magazine.

Regardless of the outcome, the court system has once again failed to comply to equal rights laws. Although Meek does have a long history of violating parole, this most recent incident and sentencing seems to be rather unjust and irresponsible.

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