It's been just about two weeks since Meek Mill and his family got the disturbing news that rocked them at their foundation, again. On November 2, Meek and his inner circle received early word that during his November 6 court hearing for probation violation, Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge Genece E. Brinkley would be sentencing him to two to four years in prison for the infractions of allegedly getting into a fight at an airport, getting arrested for popping a wheelie on a dirt bike on New York's Westside Highway, and having a urine test come back dirty.
The family was outraged but yet in denial. Why would Judge Brinkley be so harsh? Especially when Meek's probation officer and the District Attorney both specifically were recommending no jail time. So when you saw the blank, numb expression on Meek's face that the press took of him while he was entering court on two Mondays ago, he knew. He knew he probably would not be giving out coats and turkeys this Thanksgiving as he had planned. He knew he wouldn't be with his son for the holidays, he knew wouldn't be coming out of the court. Sure enough, when Meek and his family arrived, they saw sheriffs lined up in court ready to take him away as soon as the judge's decision was rendered.
"Two to four years," a sentence that has been called "heavy-handed" by JAY-Z and sparked anger and outcry by a slew of other celebrities such as Collin Kaepernick, REVOLT Chairman Sean "Diddy" Combs and Kevin Hart, along with countless fans. On Monday a rally was held right outside the same Philadelphia Criminal Justice Center where Meek was sentenced. Hundreds of fans showed up and demanded the iconic 30-year-old Philadelphia hero be released immediately.
"This is a classic case of injustice," Macklemore, who stood in the crowd wearing a coat and hood going virtually unnoticed, said at the rally. "This is systemic racism. This is white supremacy at work. Meek's the homie, it's bigger than that. Meek's the victim of a broken system and I came out to support."
"First and foremost, I got a lot of love for Meek Mill," Freeway told REVOLT less than an hour before the rally's 5 p.m. start time. "He is Philadelphia along with myself. I just feel as though, from the bottom of my heart, he's getting treated unjust. It's crazy for him to get a two to four and an upstate bid for a minor violation, doesn't make any sense. From what I'm hearing, you can tell it's something personal with the judge. Anytime the district attorney and the probation officer requested he didn't get any jail time and they put him in jail, it's definitely something personal."
"The system ain't really for us," said another one of the City of Brotherly Love's favorite son, PNB Rock, minutes before he would go up and speak to the people. "Once you're in the system, you're in that jawn unless you max out. It's easy for you to get in and hard to get out."
Indeed. Meek's entanglement with the law as a teenager has hung over his head and haunted him well into adulthood.
"Meek's been on probation his whole career," Free started to break down. "For him to be on probation for 10 years doesn't make any sense. When I got my case in '99 [for] possession with attempt to deliver, I had five years probation. After that it was over. They keep tacking more stuff onto the boy and now they gonna give him a two to four upstate? For a minor violation? It doesn't make any sense."
Besides the aforementioned MCs, Philadelphia Eagles players Malcom Jenkins, Torrey Smith, Vinny Curry, Jalen Mills and Wendell Smallwood, NBA Hall of Famer Julius "Dr. J" Erving and Philadelphia entertainment legend Charlie Mack were also in attendance advocating not just for Meek but for others like him.
"It's bigger than one person. But if we gonna use Meek, let's use Meek," MMG general Rick Ross said after he spoke at the rally. Ross and others who addressed the crowd were sure to iterate that Meek is just one of many black men and women who have been victimized by a judicial system in need of reform.
"This type of wrongful incarceration has, unfortunately, become the calling card in urban cities throughout the U.S.," Ross would affirm in a statement he read to the crowd of supporters who yelled "free Meek Mill" and "fuck the judge" throughout the evening. "It wasn't a miscarriage of justice, it was an abortion of justice. This feels personal. I feel the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania may need to take a second look at this bizarre sentencing and make sure this travesty of justice is fixed so we can move forward and Meek Mill can move forward and he can go back to being a great father, a great leader, a great example, a great entrepreneur."
Ricky Rozay is getting his wish for more eyes on Meek's case. Earlier this week, the New York Post reported that FBI is looking into potential criminal wrongdoing in the case by Judge Brinkley. Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Meek's legal team launched the appeal process yesterday with a "flurry of legal filings" among them, a request for Judge Brinkley to recuse herself from Meek's case. In the meantime, a petition calling for Meek's release has been spreading via social media and almost a half a million Signature have been tallied.
"Keep signing the petitions," one of Meek's closest confidants, P Mon of the Dream Chasers said. "We need as many as we can get."