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Why Meek Mill Says the Arrest of Black Men at Starbucks Would Have Ended Differently For Him


As Meek Mill remains incarcerated for violating probation, the rapper has opened up about his case and what it means for criminal justice reform.

“CNN Tonight” host Don Lemon visited the “Wins & Loses” rapper at the State Correctional Institution in Chester, Pa., Friday, April 13 before Mill called in and spoke with the anchor on his Monday night program.

“I feel like I will be free one day,” Meek says of District Attorney Larry Krasner’s support for his case to be thrown out, a new trial to begin and bail being granted. “The DA making that statement [is] basically saying something is wrong here. I don’t think they’re just saying that just to say it. They’re saying it for a reason. I’ll be able to get my chance pretty soon. My time [is] coming.”

Krasner cited issues with Meek’s arresting officer during Monday’s hearing. Reginald Graham, who roughed up Meek during an arrest on a 2008 gun and drug charge, was listed in a report from the DA’s office detailing officers with poor reputations.

Meek’s legal team has claimed that the judge presiding over his case Genece Brinkley, also has a poor reputation when it comes to how she’s handled their client. Brinkley, who the rapper’s attorneys have claimed has a “personal vendetta” against him, said she’d take 60 days to decide on a new trial. But the rapper isn’t hopeful she’ll decide in his favor.

After maintaining he did not simultaneously point a gun at two officers during his arrest a decade ago, Meek discussed how his case represents the need for prison reform.

“It’s like even if I wasn’t innocent of this case … if I was them kids in Starbucks, … if I woulda got locked up in Starbucks just for sitting in Starbucks by mistake and got a technical violation, legally a judge would be able to sentence me to two to four years, 3 to six years, five to ten years just for having police contact,” he says reflecting on the Black Philadelphia men who were arrested while waiting for a colleague in the coffee shop last week.

“I don’t think nobody should lose they freedom for not even committing a crime,” he adds.

Meek also said he understands how big an impact his sentencing has had and issued a warning for young Black men who may have a run-in with the police.

“I want people to be careful,” he says before encouraging folks to vote in local elections. “Especially young minorities. I call it target practice. When you already a target and you in high-risk neighborhoods where people go to jail a lot, be careful. Watch the way you move because you’ll get caught up in a situation where you could be 18-years-old and you could suffer from when you’re 30-years-old.”

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