Just five days after speaking to Lester Holt for NBC's Nightly News, Meek Mill appeared as a guest, via phone, on CNN's Tonight with Don Lemon yesterday (April 16). Speaking from the Chester State Correctional Institution, the imprisoned rapper discussed his controversial case judge, criminal justice reform, and voting. Read excerpts, and watch the full interview, below.
On Philadephia District Attorney Larry Krasner supporting a new trial and bail due to "serious issues regarding the credibility of the arresting officer in the case": I try to keep my spirits high. I don't really try to think too much, get my hopes up from that courtroom right there, but I feel like I will be free one day because the DA making that statement is basically saying, 'something is wrong here.' I don't think they're saying it just to say it. They're saying it for a reason and I think I'll be able to get my chance pretty soon. My time coming.
On Judge Genece Brinkley's 60-day delay in ruling: I thought that was a little crazy. I try not to do too much negative speaking on her because my life is in her hands, but I think people can see that was a little crazy. If the DA is offering that I get bail and offering that I get a new trial, then 60 days is a little outrageous. Eighty cases go in front of the judge on Friday and mine will be the only one heard in June.
On if he thinks the punishment fits the crime: Hell no. I'm not perfect. I ain't commit the crime. I didn't point a gun at two officers....With all these young men getting killed for reaching for their cellphones... I happened to be from the ghetto and on the road to success; that was lucky enough. You think I'm lucky enough to point a gun at two, three officers at one time without a shot being fired at me? That's like almost impossible.
On if he believes his case is representative of a criminal justice system in need of reform: Yeah, definitely. Even if I wasn't innocent of this case, just being on probation 11 years so far. If I was them kids in Starbucks, If I'da got locked up just for sitting in Starbucks by mistake and got a technical violation, legally, a judge would be able to sentence me to 2-4 years, 3-6 years, 5-10 years just for having police contact. And I don't think nobody should lose their freedom for not even committing crimes. I was locked up, I was found guilty of a crime I didn't commit in 2008 or '09. I'm in a state penitentiary still because of that case and I've never been in trouble since 2009. A lot of people, they got locked up for technical violations and stuff like that and they lose their job, they lose their family, their kids, for months, years at a time for small mistakes.
On his advice for young black men: I want people to be careful, especially young minorities. I call it 'target practice': when you already a target and you in high-risk neighborhoods with people who go to jail a lot, be careful. Watch the way you move because you could get caught up in situation like this where you could be 18 years old and you could still suffer from when you 30 years old....The most important thing I want to say is: vote. When it's time to vote for governor, judges, DAs: vote. Let's vote for people that are into justice reform and helping the urban community because we're being affected by it but we're not voting and we're not holding any political presence.