Meek Mill is finally free, ending a decade-old legal saga that sparked a movement
By Deena Zaru –
ABC News – Meek Mill is finally free — a decision that culminates a twisted legal saga that lasted more than a decade and a #FreeMeek movement that sparked a nationwide debate on mass incarceration.
“I’m very thankful from the bottom of my heart to everybody that ever mentioned my name or said ‘free Meek’ or helped me get to this position,” the rapper told hundreds of supporters who gathered outside a Philadelphia courthouse on Tuesday morning. “Meek free. I’m not on probation no more, I don’t have to to go to court no more.”
The Grammy-nominated Philadelphia artist pleaded guilty on Tuesday to a misdemeanor gun charge stemming from a 2007 gun and drug case that has kept him on probation for nearly 12 years.
“I just wanted to come up here myself and thank all the supporters because I know ya’ll probably got family members in jail or people going though the same thing as me,” the rapper told his supporters. “And I will continue to do what I do in the reform movement and help the people who helped me, so I thank ya’ll. Thanks for coming out and standing for me a thousand percent.”
The Philadelphia district attorney dropped all other charges and a judge decided that the 32-year-old rapper, who has already served about two years in prison, will not serve any more jail time.
“I know this has been a long road for you and hopefully this will be the end of it,” Judge Leon Tucker told the rapper, according to The Associated Press.
The decision comes after a unanimous ruling last month by a three-judge panel that overturned the rapper’s conviction and granted him a new trial.
“I’m extremely grateful that my long legal battle is finally behind me and I appreciate that it has sparked a much-needed discussion about probation reform and the inequalities that exist within our two Americas,” Mill said in a statement obtained by ABC News. “I have always told the truth — that as a teenager, who saw many around me die from senseless gun violence, I carried a gun for protection. I take responsibility for that and – in conjunction with my work on the REFORM Alliance – I’ll continue to use my platform to make communities safer and reform our criminal justice system.”
Citing evidence of alleged police corruption, the court’s opinions stated: “We conclude the after-discovered evidence is of such a strong nature and character that a different verdict will likely result at a retrial. Williams was convicted based upon the testimony of former Officer Graham. In its brief, the Commonwealth now states ‘[i]t is axiomatic that it cannot call a witness whose credibility it mistrusts.’”
The hip-hop star, whose given name is Robert Rihmeek Williams, has become one of the most visible and outspoken advocates for criminal justice reform since his 2017 sentencing for technical violations sparked a national movement. He was released last year.
After 11 years, the rapper’s probation related to this case has now officially been lifted for good.
The Philadelphia district attorney filed documents with the Pennsylvania Superior Court in May, calling for a new judge and a new trial for Mill’s case.
Judge Genece Brinkley, who had overseen the rapper’s case for years, has been at the center of this case and has been accused of being biased in her rulings.
The rapper, who earlier this year= launched REFORM Alliance, a criminal justice reform organization, vowed to continue fighting for others.
“I want to express my gratitude to all of my supporters, especially JAY-Z, Desiree Perez, Michael Rubin, my legal team and everyone else who stood by me throughout the years,” Mill said in the statement on Tuesday. “It’s important that we now channel our energy into helping the millions that are unjustly trapped in our criminal justice system.”