National Action Network President Al Sharpton visited rapper Meek Mill at the Chester State Correctional Institution Monday. Sharpton is visiting the rapper as part of his criminal justice reform efforts through NAN.
Meek Mill, whose real name is Robert Rihmeek Williams, has been incarcerated since last month after being sentenced to two to four years in prison for violating probation from a drug and gun case in 2008. Common Pleas Judge Genece E. Brinkley told the 30-year-old rapper that she gave him “break after break” and he thumbed his nose at the court. She said he would serve his time in state prison and would be eligible for state parole supervision after two years.
This year, Mill was arrested and charged with misdemeanor assault after an altercation at St. Louis International Airport. He was also arrested and charged for reckless endangerment in New York City after video of him surfaced on social media riding a dirt bike without a helmet. Both charges were eventually dropped, and Mill committed to doing community service.
Mill’s legal team probation officer recommended to Brinkley that he not serve prison time.
During a post-visit news conference, Sharpton said that Mill is “representative of many people in institutions like this that do little or nothing then are violated and their lives and businesses are ruined.”
Sharpton continued, “If you can do this to a successful artist like Meek Mill, you can do this to many around the country. He is representative of far more than his stardom—he is a symbol of the abuse of the system that will violate you over nothing and end up ruining the potential and the ability to move forward in life.”
Monday, the Pennsylvania Superior Court ruled Brinkley must stop delaying Mill’s motion for bail. Mill’s attorneys filed an Emergency Petition for an Original Writ of Habeas Corpus, requesting that the Superior Court release the rapper immediately because Brinkley still hasn’t held a routine hearing on his bail status.
“We’re pleased that the Superior Court took immediate action to direct the Court of Common Pleas to decide on the application for bail without further delay,” said Jordan Siev, a member of Mill’s legal team, in a statement. “We remain hopeful that Mr. Williams will be promptly released on bail.”
Billboards have been posted around Philadelphia asking citizens to “Stand With Meek Mill.” In an editorial in The New York Times, rapper JAY-Z wrote, “What’s happening to Meek Mill is just one example of how our criminal justice system entraps and harasses hundreds of thousands of Black people every day…Taxpayers in Philadelphia, Meek Mill’s hometown, will have to spend tens of thousands of dollars each year to keep him locked up, and I bet none of them would tell you his imprisonment is helping to keep them safer.”