Reform Philly hosted an event aired on Tidal at the University of Pennslyvania’s campus at the Irvine Auditorium on Tuesday that discussed Meek Mill’s unjust 2-4 year prison sentence. Meek’s mother Kathy Williams, his lawyer Joe Tacopina, and Reverend Al Sharpton held a panel discusing how the current state of our criminal justice system wronged Meek along with many other black men in America.
Before and during the panels, Meek’s mother voiced her frustration at the way her son has been treated. She mentioned how he did not harm anyone and the fact that he was simply riding dirt bikes violates probation is questionable. She also expressed the pain that Meek’s son feels due to his absence and incarceration.
Joe Tacopina discussed how Meek was sentenced for a non-criminal offense and that was not a reason for him to be imprisoned. Tacopina added on how Reginald Graham was the officer who originally arrested Meek in 2007 and ended up being on a list of the District Attorney office of Philadelphia’s secret list of officers that displayed corruption. Evidence was shown that he displayed police brutality against Meek. Tacopina is also still battling with Judge Genece Brinkley, the woman who handed down Meek’s sentence. He went on to say that she always threatens to sue him but he will continue to fight to give Meek the justice he deserves. Tacopina said that the circumstances surrounding this case are things that he has never dealt with in his career and hopes that he will not have to see these problems occurring in our criminal justice system again.
Reverend Al Sharpton said that Meek’s situation is more broad and that everyone should stand with everyone that are being punished for small technicalities. He also aired out Judge Brinkley saying that she should be embarrased and ashamed for what she’s done to Meek.
Eagles Cornerback Malcolm Jenkins spoke to me prior to the event about his impact in the NFL regarding bringing awareness of racism and police brutality on a larger platform and how it all relates to fighting for Meek’s freedom.
“What we’ve been able to do is focus on the actual issues,” said Jenkins. “The kneeling was able to draw attention to the issues and now we’re at the point where we’re talking about the real things that are happening such as our criminal justice and educational systems along with lack of economical advancement in communities of color. This all points to why we’re here tonight. Meek is someone that we wanna fight for and want to be free. He represents one of many people that are mistreated on a daily basis.”
The panel concluded with a surprise phone call by Meek to Tacopina that the audience was able to hear. He expressed his gratitude for his hometown of Philadelphia, his mother, and went into detail regarding how the system has failed him and many other black men in America. He said he was grateful to finally get out of that original situation by his success in music and signing with a major record label but that arrest from 2007 still hovers over him as it is evident with his current prison sentence.
The University of Pennsylvania was a phenomenal host for Reform Philly’s event and this panel was very effective in detailing how Meek Mill is being treated unfairly by the system. His circumstances in the past are not grounds for a 2-4 year prison sentence.