Criminal Justice

A Corrupt Cop Sent Meek Mill to Prison. A Corrupt System Kept Sending Him Back.

The case is a perfect example of the overcriminalization of petty crimes.

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More than a decade after his conviction on drug and gun charges, rapper Meek Mill has been granted a new trial. A Pennsylvania appeals court ruled that new evidence likely exonerates him.

Born Robert Rihmeek Williams, Mill was arrested in 2007 after a police officer alleged he pointed a gun at him and was in possession of drugs. Although Mill, then 18 years old, denied the charges, he was sentenced to 11 to 23 months in prison; he served eight months and was released in 2009 and ordered to serve five years probation.

The officer, Reginald Graham, was the linchpin of the case, likely sealing Mill's conviction with his testimony. But Graham was fired from the Philadelphia Police Department after an investigation found that he stole money from the department and lied about it, calling his integrity into question. Another officer came forward after Mill was convicted and disputed Graham's assertion that Mill brandished his gun threateningly. Instead, he says it was clear that he was attempting to discard the weapon.

Considering the new evidence, President Judge Jack A. Panella wrote that "a different verdict will likely result at a retrial."

Mill, now 32, has dealt with the legal saga for the entire course of his adult life. His five-year probation turned into 10 years probation after he violated the terms of the order by leaving Pennsylvania to perform. The decision raised eyebrows around the over-criminalization of petty crimes and the cyclical nature of the criminal justice system, which traps people in its confines by criminalizing things like doing one's job.

Mill was reincarcerated twice over the course of that period and served multiple house arrest stints, as small infractions continued to hound the rapper. In 2011, he racked up his first probation violation when he tested positive for painkillers. In 2014, he spent five months in Hoffman Hall Prison for leaving the country.

And in what was perhaps the most ridiculous turn, Mill appeared before Judge Genece Brinkley again in September 2017 after two misdemeanor arrests. The first pertained to an altercation with paparazzi in a St. Louis airport; that charge was dropped. The second arrest centered around Mill allegedly popping a wheelie on a dirtbike in Manhattan while not wearing a helmet, for which he was charged with reckless driving after police saw an Instagram post. Brinkley sentenced him to two to four years in prison. Mill served another five months.

The Pennsylvania appeals court also removed Brinkley from the case, arguing she had become too involved over the last several years. Last month, District Attorney Larry Krasner's office granted Mill a new hearing related to his 2017 sentencing, arguing that Brinkley "assumed the role of investigator" when she went to a homeless shelter to watch him perform court-ordered community service, and then criticized him for not doing enough.

Mill's 2017 prison sentence sparked renewed outrage, fueling the #FreeMeek movement, which the rapper has since used to shine a broad light on criminal justice issues. "I was really thinking more of, like, free everybody that's caught in these type of situations," he told CBS News, shortly after his conviction was overturned.

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  1. “another officer came forward after Mill was convicted”

    What (belated) courage!

    1. Probably the other officer came forward after Graham was fired for thievery – he’d never testify against another cop but former cops are just mundanes like everybody else and they’re fair game. I’ve always said when you read news stories about cops being charged with crimes it doesn’t mean anything, it’s when they start being identified as former cops that you know they’re going down.

      1. “Probably the other officer came forward after Graham was fired for thievery … he’d never testify against another cop …”

        Your thin blue line argument rests on utter speculation. The timeline as stated in the article is ambiguous. The phrase “in that vein” implies a cause and effect, but without dates, how do we know? Because the phrase “… another officer came forward after Mill was convicted …” could refer to 1 day or all the time since just before the author of this article researched the case.

        “… an investigation found that he stole money from the department and lied about it, calling his integrity into question. In that vein, another officer came forward after Mill was convicted and disputed Graham’s assertion that Mill brandished his gun threateningly. Instead, he says it was clear that he was attempting to discard the weapon.”

        1. Clearly, the words “in that vein” were inappropriate and have thus apparently been removed from the article. It must, all the same, be pointed out that the entire article is based on the false premise that there is something wrong with “overcriminalizing petty crimes.” If any sort of a crime is committed, then it must always be punished with utmost severity, to send a message to the public and to the perpetrator as well. Here at NYU, we worked closely with prosecutors to guarantee that every single possible legal pretext would be invoked to deal with an act of criminal “parody” that had inappropriately impinged on our reputations. It is, of course, a pity that so many of the charges we sought were ultimately vacated by the appellate courts and that no jail time was served after we put so much energy into the matter, but we did succeed in using the criminal justice system to send the message that such conduct will not be tolerated at our university, and nobody is complaining about that. See the documentation of our nation’s leading criminal “satire” case at:

          https://raphaelgolbtrial.wordpress.com/

      2. ‘Mundanes’……..

        Are you sure we’re not talking about Psi Cops here?

  2. But Graham was fired from the Philadelphia Police Department after an investigation found that he stole money from the department and lied about it, calling his integrity into question.

    Yeah…just being part of the Philly PD calls your integrity into question.

    1. Is there a PD where it doesn’t call your integrity into question?

  3. Mill was a teenager in possession of an unregistered firearm. While that shouldn’t be a crime, under 2nd amendment, it was, in fact, a crime in Phila. and apparently Mill doesn’t dispute he had a pistol.
    What is funny is that he is being treated as some kind of hero by the prog establishment even as they rail long and loud about legislation to take firearms out of the hands of law abiding citizens.

    1. The left has little sense of how weird they look when they put their shoes on the other foot.

  4. Maybe he should have served the extra 5 months up front?

    Wtf sending him to prison for endangering himself.

  5. Free him and Free Mike Flynn

  6. Really. The deptt. is corrupt.
    norton.com/setup

  7. I wonder how Brinkley feels having helped spur reform of the criminal justice system she abused.

  8. Glad Trump didn’t get involved. Would only show totally racist he is…

    1. I know. Nothing is more racist than trying to get justice for a wrongly convicted black man.

      Fuckin’ Racist Drumpf!!!!!!

  9. the whole sentence was illegal from the start. if Meek was sentenced for the conviction to prison from the beginning, he would have a straight stint from 1-2 years or something under the guidelines (besides the wrongful conviction itself). Probation is in “lieu” of a sentence, it is not a separate, new sentence that morphs into 10 years of bonded servitude where he is under State supervision and arrested more than if he was sentenced without probation at all. probation was supposed to be a grace, not a curse that is more onerous than the actual sentence of prison.

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