meek mill calls out dysfunctional justice system

November 29, 2018

Rapper turned prison reform activist Meek Mill recently penned an op-ed for the New York Times about the miscarriage of justice that landed him behind bars and the fact that this dysfunctionality disproportionately affects other Black men and women with less visibility than himself.

Background: The case in question, as Mill describes it, stemmed from a 2007 arrest that now has the rapper on probation. “[I was] popping a wheelie on a motorcycle in Manhattan. Even though the charge was dismissed in a New York City court, a Philadelphia-based judge still deemed my interaction with the police to be a technical violation of my probation — stemming from a 2007 arrest — and sentenced me to two to four years in prison despite the fact that I didn’t commit a crime. The judge also refused my motion for bail, calling me a ‘danger to the community’ and a ‘flight risk.’”

NEW YORK, NY – SEPTEMBER 27: Rapper Meek Mill attends the Billboard 2018 R&B Hip-Hop Power Players event at Legacy Records on September 27, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Billboard)

Throughout the piece, Mill recognizes that he is in a unique position of celebrity that amplifies his voice and the injustice that he’s experienced. What’s most important here is just how many people with fewer to no resources are facing miscarriages of justice in a for-profit justice system based on imprisonment. It’s a personal and political call to action for lawmakers and the people who vote them into office to wake up about the discrimination within the justice system, the lack of resources, and the disposability of Black and brown lives within it.

“The reality is African-Americans and Latinos who come from poverty-stricken neighborhoods are assigned public defenders too overburdened to do anything in most cases other than negotiate the most favorable plea deal, regardless of guilt or innocence.”

Read Meek’s entire essay here.