Hundreds of supporters of the imprisoned rapper Meek Mill rallied Monday evening outside the Criminal Justice Center, calling for his sentence to be overturned and attacking a system they say failed him and others.
Speakers at the 5 p.m. demonstration included 76ers legend Julius Erving, Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins, and rappers Rick Ross and Freeway.
Meek Mill’s Mug shot
Erving, wearing a raincoat and hat, was the first big-name attendee to address the boisterous crowd.
He quoted the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
Mill was sentenced last week to two to four years in prison for violating probation resulting from a 2008 gun and drug case. His critics have lashed out at the sentencing judge, Common Pleas Court Judge Genece Brinkley, and his defense lawyers have pledged to appeal, although no such challenge has been filed.
Since his sentencing, Mill has had a number of prominent backers speak against his incarceration, including Jay-Z and other music figures. A Change.org petition calling for a review of Mill’s pardon application has over 342,000 signatures.
The judge revoked the North Philadelphia native’s probation following fresh arrests for probation violations. He pleaded guilty in October to reckless driving charges in Manhattan after driving a dirt bike on city streets. He was also arrested for fighting in St. Louis in March, but those charges were dropped.
Neither the prosecutor nor Mill’s probation officer recommended prison time for the violations.
Erving said Mill’s sentence “was excessive, was cruel, was motivated by unsavory circumstances.”
Ross told the crowd: “It wasn’t simply a miscarriage of justice, it was an abortion of justice.”