In the criminal case against Philadelphia rapper Meek Mill, a notable voice continues to speak out in his favor. Jay-Z, the multi-platinum hip-hop star who is married to Beyoncé, has written an op-ed in the New York Times that speaks out against the criminal justice system and its repeated problem with racial inequality.
Meek Mill is currently facing two to four years behind bars after violating a probation charge that he’s been serving since 2009. At that time he was convicted in a drug and gun case and was forced to serve eight months but has been followed by the court of law ever since. This is something Jay-Z has taken exception to, finding the treatment of a fellow rapper stereotypical because of his race.
“Meek was around 19 when he was convicted on charges relating to drug and gun possession, and he served an eight-month sentence,” Jay-Z began. “Now he’s 30, so he has been on probation for basically his entire adult life. For about a decade, he’s been stalked by a system that considers the slightest infraction a justification for locking him back inside.”
“What’s happening to Meek Mill is just one example of how our criminal justice system entraps and harasses hundreds of thousands of black people every day,” he continued. He then went on to relate this situation to things he witnessed himself growing up in Brooklyn.
“I saw this up close when I was growing up in Brooklyn during the 1970s and 1980s. Instead of a second chance, probation ends up being a land mine, with a random misstep bringing consequences greater than the crime. A person on probation can end up in jail over a technical violation like missing a curfew.”
Jay-Z also added that this situation is not only a burden on Meek Mill and the African American community, but on the taxpayers of Philadelphia as well.
“I bet none of them would tell you his imprisonment is helping to keep them safer. He’s there because of arrests for a parole violation, and because a judge overruled recommendations by a prosecutor and his probation officer that he doesn’t deserve more jail time. That’s why I stopped my show in Dallas last week to talk about Meek.”
As for violating probation, the crimes of which Meek Mill has committed to upset the judge have been rather miniscule. In March, he was arrested after an altercation occurred in a St. Louis Airport, but upon a video of the incident being released, charges were dropped. Then in August, he was arrested for popping a wheelie on his motorcycle during a video shoot, but for this particular offense, his charges will be dropped if he avoids any further misconduct.
“Think about that. The charges were either dropped or dismissed, but the judge sent him to prison anyway,” Jay-Z concluded.