Meek Mill’s mug shot recently hit the internet after a Pennsylvania judge sentenced him to 2-4 years for violating probation.
Since then, a petition has been created on Change.org, and the organizer has asked Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf to take another look into the judge’s decision. Especially since the prosecutors in the case suggested no jail time and said the rapper has grown since getting into trouble in the past. As of Thursday (Nov. 11), the petition has reached 150,000 signatures, and the creator of it explained why Mill’s sentence should be reconsidered.
“More than just a celebrity or rapper, Meek Mill has been a powerful voice in the community for our youth,” the document reads. “He has made positive contributions to many communities and programs, dedicating time and money to the cultivation of our youth and neighborhoods, even through his own adversities. He has continued to be dedicated and shown an immaculate work ethic, even at times when the system tried to prevent him from being able to tour, which is how he makes a living.”
There were some media outlets that reported that Wolf created the petition himself and was standing up for Mill but in actuality, the document was made to get his attention. Mill’s fans also took to Wolf’s social media pages and pleaded with him to review the rapper’s case.
“We need rapper Meek Mill released,” one person wrote on the Wolf’s Instagram page. “He is a better influence outside of jail than inside. Please get his sentence appealed, reduced, something.”
Another person on Wolfe’s page brought up the case of Brock Turner, the former Stanford University student who was sentenced to six months after he was convicted of sexually assaulting an intoxicated woman.
“I beg you to please help Meek in any way possible,” the person wrote. “Meek was harshly sentenced to 2-4 years for a non-violent violation of his probation when Brock Turner brutally raped a woman and was sentenced to six months but released in three. Meek hasn’t hurt anyone.”
The rapper 2 Chainz brought up Turner as well and seemed baffled why Mill was given a stiffer penalty.
It’s unknown if the signatures on the petition are enough to sway Wolf to look into Mill’s sentencing since there isn’t a specific number of signatures needed for him to act. In fact, there just has to be enough signatures that make him feel the rapper’s case is a big enough issue among the people.
That’s different from the number of signatures required when petitioning the U.S. government. According to We The People, a section on the WhiteHouse.gov website, 150 signatures are needed in 30 days for a petition to be searchable online, and 100,000 is needed in 30 days to get one’s request reviewed and responded to.
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Meanwhile, NBC News reported that before the judge made her decision on Mill, he gave a statement and admitted that he’s been battling an addiction to Percocet, the prescription painkiller. Mill also told the judge that a prison sentence would likely mean the end of his music career and said that he didn’t mean to violate the probation terms.
“I may have made a mistake, but I never had the intention of disrespecting you,” he said.
Since Mill started his sentence, people from the hip-hop community and beyond continue to slam the judge’s decision, like JAY-Z who spoke out at a recent tour stop in Dallas.
“I gotta say something about a young man named Meek Mill,” he began. “He caught a charge, he was about 19, he’s 30 now, he’s been on probation 11 years. F—ing 11 years. Now he got to do two to four year, because he got arrested being on a bike popping a f—ing wheelie.”
JAY was referring to Mill’s arrest in New York City over the summer when he was riding his motorbike with his crew. It was that charge and a scuffle in a St. Louis airport that led the judge to send him back to prison. However, both of the charges have since been dropped.
T.I. also spoke about the Philly rapper and gave him advice on how to spend his time while locked up.
“My brother been going back and forth with them people since they put him on probation,” he said. “They didn’t want him to make it. I think every violation, there’s a certain discretion that a judge could use, and just like the judge could be lenient sometimes, other times they can be excessive … Just use the time wisely, be productive and learn as much as you can. Just strategize from the moment you step up out of there. Everyday you in there, utilize all them hours. Strategize your comeback.”
The R&B singer Tank had something to say as well, and he got into it with TV personality Eva Marcille, who criticized people for sticking up for Mill but not being as passionate about voting.
As far as the petition, it’s likely that the number of signatures will quickly swell, and we’ll see if it has any impact on Mill’s sentencing.
On Thursday (Nov. 9), Atlanta Black Star reached out to Governor Wolf’s office for a response to the petition, we were directed to an email address. We’ll be sure update this story with the office’s official response.