Illustration for article titled Philly Rallies Behind Meek Mill as Rapper Awaits Judge’s Decision on Possible Retrial
Photo: Ashley Velez (The Root)

Meek Mill is seeking justice, and his city is behind him. Fans gathered in droves Monday outside the Juanita Kidd Stout Center for Criminal Justice in Philadelphia, where Judge Genece Brinkley heard arguments about granting the 31-year-old rapper a new trial on gun- and drug-related charges he faced when he was 19.

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The rapper’s lawyers are seeking a retrial since evidence has surfaced against Meek Mill’s arresting officer, Reginald V. Graham, alleging that the cop was corrupt. Meek’s lawyers argue that his 2008 conviction is based on false testimony and a fabricated arrest affidavit. The Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office agrees that the rapper should be granted a new trial given the allegations concerning the now-former officer.

Illustration for article titled Philly Rallies Behind Meek Mill as Rapper Awaits Judge’s Decision on Possible Retrial
Photo: Ashley Velez (The Root)
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The decision now rests in the hands of Judge Brinkley, who has been accused of having a personal vendetta against the rapper. Meek’s legal team has repeatedly attempted to have her removed from his case. His lawyers say that the judge’s demeanor during Monday’s hearing was especially hostile.

“I’ve been doing this for 30 years; I’ve never, ever walked into a courtroom and felt so far from the idea of being in a courtroom,” attorney Brian McMonagle told The Root. “There wasn’t any justice. There wasn’t any attempt at justice.”

Outside the courtroom, social justice organizers and notable Philadelphia names, like rapper Freeway and journalist Marc Lamont Hill, spoke to Meek supporters about the need for criminal-justice reform in Philadelphia and nationwide.

Meek’s lawyers say that they left Brinkley with a pile of written evidence, which she will review. She has until June 30 to reach a decision about a possible retrial.

“Hopefully, this judge does the right thing, the noble thing, the just thing, and grant[s] the relief that’s been requested,” McMonagle said. “If she doesn’t, she doesn’t get the last word.”

Senior Video Producer by day. Chicken connoisseur by night. Philly jawn always.

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DISCUSSION

I’m usually “Keep dat nikka locked up” (see Mystikal), but his case has too many red flags and subjective justice.

He was railroaded. Robert Rihmeek Mills’ name should be added to a long list of names who suffered a gross miscarriage of justice.

If and when all of this is cleared, I hope Meek will take an interest in state politics. Not as a politician, but as an advocate to justice reform for Black women and Black men stuck in a cycle of never being free.