Black Men & Our Justice System: Meek Mill

By now, you have heard all about Meek Mill‘s mandatory 2-year minimum sentence for violating his probation. When you hear that at first, you’re like, “that’s the law and how it works” — except that this man has been on probation for about 11 years. You have read that correct: 11 years. Where is the justice in that?

Meek Mill went in front of Judge Genece E. Brinkley on Monday, November 6th, 2017. “I’m human. I’m not perfect,” Mill said to the judge, according to a report from Philly.com. “I’m asking for mercy. You gave me the ladder to do what I have to do to prevail in my struggle. I made it this far, I can’t really go back and start over.” You can check out a full time line of Meek’s legal troubles below.

In addition to his own response to Meek Mill’s predicament, Jay-Z made a powerful statement during his Dallas concert:

Black people in particular, we gotta get our s*** together. You’re not second-class to anybody. We equal to everybody. We deserve everything everyone else gets. Stop selling yourself short.

Meek Mill Heads to Prison for the First Time (2008)

Meek’s first taste of prison came at the age of 18 when he was caught carrying a gun while shopping at a local grocery store. He was arrested in 2008 following the incident, spent eight months in prison and was later placed on probation for five years.

Halloween Arrest (2012)

Meek Mill was pulled over by cops on Halloween because officials reportedly smelled marijuana coming from his car. According to Philly.com, Meek said he was arrested for refusing to allow police to search his car. During that time, Meek was on his way to Atlanta for a performance, which would’ve earned him almost $40,000. His deal with Puma at the time was also in jeopardy due to all the negative press surrounding him.

Violates Probation (2014)

After his prison release, Meek Mill made it his duty to take his music seriously, which worked out in his favor as the rapper signed with Rick Ross‘ Maybach Music Group label in 2011. Meek showed promise with the release of his breakout track “I’m A Boss” and his star continued to rise since: his debut album, Dreams and Nightmares, peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 chart. Despite all his success, the Philly native landed right back in courts in 2014 for violating his probation by booking performances outside of Philly without Judge Brinkley’s approval. The rapper was sentenced to three to six months in jail. Meek began his stint in July and was released from prison in December 2014. He was put on parole and ordered to complete etiquette classes.

Violates Parole, Again (2016)

By the time 2016 rolled around, Meek was at the top of his game. He was dating the hottest female rapper at the time — Nicki Minaj — and was embroiled in a meme-able rap beef with Drake. But, Meek found himself in front of Judge Brinkley again for traveling without her permission. In February 2016, Brinkley sentenced the rapper to house arrest for 90 days where he’d be forced to wear an ankle monitor, participate in community service, and was prohibited from working and traveling outside of Philly.

St. Louis Airport Scuffle (2017)

Meek Mill found himself involved in a fight at a St. Louis airport earlier this year after refusing to take a photo with an employee. The rapper was charged with a misdemeanor assault and was given a court summons. At the time, Meek was still on probation from his 2009 drug and gun charge. The misdemeanor assault charge was recently dropped, but it wouldn’t be the last run-in Meek would have.

Rides “Recklessly” Through New York City Streets

While Meek started off the year on the wrong foot with a misdemeanor charge following his airport fight, the rapper channeled his energy into his music and dropped off his latest album Wins & Losses. In support of his new album, Meek took the stage at The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon to perform the aptly titled “YBA (Young Black America)” but was arrested shortly after for driving his motorbike recklessly in New York City the night prior, after officials obtained footage from social media of Meek’s antics. He was charged with reckless endangerment and reckless driving.

“A guy literally popped a wheelie for 10 seconds on the street with no one else around,” Tacopina said in a video posted by TMZ. “And the police were there. That’s very important. The police were there and they saw it, and they didn’t arrest him. They didn’t even give him a traffic ticket, but somehow the video made it to social media.”

According to TMZ, Meek accepted a plea deal which will remove the charge from his record under the condition that he stays out of trouble for six months and completes community service.

The Hip-Hop community has shown their support for Meek Mill:

Every year we hear about how the injustice in our Justice System treats our black men and women — especially our black men, though some people do not even bother reading about it. Here you have someone in the lime light who is a rich black man who came from nothing, and yet the system proves that no matter if you have money, your skin color does matter.

Where is the justice in 11 years of probation? Where is the justice in arresting someone over a video they made the day before? Where is the justice in going to work to make money to provide food your family? When will the justice system be just?

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