In early November of last year, Meek Mill was sentenced to two to four years in state prison following a probation violation for a 2008 gun and drug conviction. Despite outcry from the public and his hip-hop peers alike, the rapper born Robert Williams was denied bail last December after being deemed a "danger to the community" by Court of Common Pleas Judge Genece Brinkley, who convicted him 10 years ago.
Now, a story from Rolling Stone has taken an extensive look at Meek's history with Brinkley and the justice system in Philadelphia, reporting how the judge used her position and power to enrich herself, and how Meek's arrest should have been a mistrial.
Last month, CBS Philadelphia reported that the rapper was granted a "post-conviction relief appeal" after it was revealed that ex-officer Reginald Graham, the sole witness at Meek's 2007 trial, was listed as a non-credible witness by a special Police Misconduct Review Committee.
In 2007, ex-officer Graham testified that he had seen a pre-fame Meek Mill selling crack to a confidential informant at 4:45 p.m. on January 23 of that year. Meek and his family deny that he ever sold the drug, and allege that he was nowhere near where ex-officer Graham had said he was.
"Our cousin Thelonious was on trial [in Center City Philadelphia, three miles away] and at least 20 of us were there [from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.]," Meek's cousin Ikeem Parker told Rolling Stone. "With rush hour, Meek couldn't have got home till 6 p.m."
Graham got a warrant to search the home Meek was staying in with family, with the rapper alleging they used his head as a battering ram to open the door. The rapper's family told Rolling Stone that the police beat them and searched the house for drugs and money. Meek was charged with 19 counts, including an allegation that the rapper had aimed a gun at Graham.
In a sworn affidavit provided to Meek's current legal team, ex-detective Jerrod Gibson recalled that he "never saw Mr. Williams lift his gun and point it at Officers Graham and Johnson...I observed Mr. Williams lift the gun out of his waistband in a motion that suggested he was trying to discard [it]."
Graham's former partner, Jeffrey Walker, told Rolling Stone that the ex-officer "lied like it was second nature!" Walker said. "If you had your weapon drawn, [Meek's] never pulling a gun. The second he raised that weapon, he would've had one breath to live. Straight up and down, they'd have aired him out. We're talking closed casket, not open."
As he or his family did not have the funds to pay for a jury trial, Meek's case was decided by Brinkley, who acquitted his co-defendants and found the pre-fame rapper guilty of seven charges, four of which involved the gun.
Rolling Stone also notes that Graham never lab-tested the alleged substance that Meek was allegedly selling, claiming he had done a "field test" at the scene. The publication reports that according to multiple legal experts, the missing evidence should have been grounds for a mistrial.
Rolling Stone also dives deep on Brinkley's history as a landlord, in addition to a number of civil suits (as both plaintiff and defendant) brought against her by tenants. Stories include tenants being diagnosed with lead poisoning after living in one of her units, to firing a cop-turned-construction worker and accusing him of burglary upon returning to the job site to collect his tools.
An unnamed Philadelphia attorney who spoke to Rolling Stone called Brinkley "a sadist...she puts long-tail probations on young black men, then jerks them back to jail for small infractions."
Meek told Rolling Stone that he turns down all prison visitation from anyone other than his lawyers or close friends, saying of his family, "I won't let them come...If they see me like this — fucked-up beard, hair all ganked — then it's like I'm really in here. Which I'm not."
He added that to be angry or sad about his current situation would be "letting [that woman] win."
You can read the entire piece here.