Imprisoned rapper Meek Mill may soon find his fortunes on the upswing.
Rev. Al Sharpton recently announced that he plans to soon visit the jailed hip hop star as part of a movement aimed at bringing attention to what many see as the overly harsh sentence he was slapped with following a probation violation.
“I think this is about an injustice that is representative of many young men of color that face an abuse of a probation or parole system,” Sharpton told the New York Daily News at the Harlem headquarters of the National Action Network.
Sharpton said he hopes the attention he and others are bringing to the situation, as well as that of mass incarceration in general, may lead to the rapper being granted a new hearing.
“This is not about an artist,” Sharpton said. “This is about a system. I think what’s happening with Meek Mill is something that the National Action Network has always fought, and I hope that me going there is going to raise the pressure on the issue and help begin a drive by us in supporting others and demanding a new hearing for him and a new judge.”
Earlier this month, the rap star was slapped with a sentence of two-to-four-years when a gun possession case from when he was 18 came up for review in two separate instances — a fight in St. Louis and popping a wheelie on a dirt bike in New York.
In each of the new cases, criminal charges were dropped and prosecutors and Mill’s probation officer both recommended that he be spared prison time.
“This has happened to countless young black men, and Meek Mill represents that, and he can be an example of how we correct that,” Sharpton said. “If they can do this to someone with the profile of a Meek Mill, imagine what they’re doing every day.”
According to CNN, supporters of the rapper immediately slammed his sentence as excessive, and questioning if he should have still even been on probation for a crime he was convicted of more than a decade earlier.
In rendering the most recent sentence, Judge Genece E. Brinkley cited a failed drug test and the hip hop star’s noncompliance with a court order restricting his travel. His attorney, Joe Tacopina, has argued that the judge has a personal vendetta against the rapper and insists he plans to appeal.
“It’s primarily this judge, but he’s in a system that allows for this to happen, and there should be some swift resolution for him,” Tacopina said.
Hip-hop stars from Jay Z to Rick Ross to T.I to Drake have all rallied to Meek’s side.
After initially serving eight months in prison and being released in 2009, Mill went back to prison in 2014 after he violated his probation terms and performed outside Pennsylvania. He served five months and was released in December, 2014, and Brinkley reinstated his probation conditions.
Just last year, he was sentenced to three months house arrest and ordered to perform community service after another parole violation, for which the judge also extended his probation another six years.
Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who has become a symbol of racial injustice at the hands of law enforcement, has also spoke out on behalf of the rapper.
“Sadly, there are Black folks going through the same radicalized injustice(s) within the justice system that Meek Mill has experienced for over a decade EVERY SINGLE DAY,” he tweeted. “This requires more than just gradual reform in laws — It requires a swift overhaul.”
[Featured Image by Rick Diamond/Getty Images]