Here’s a Timeline of Meek Mill’s Legal Troubles
Hip-hop and the justice system have a checkered relationship with each other that dates back to the culture's humble beginnings. A multitude of rappers (famous and otherwise) have found themselves intertwined with the long arm of the law, resulting in careers being squandered and people's livelihood and freedom stripped away. While a number of these instances may have been justified, many sentences have been scrutinized as being unfair and malicious, as is the case with Meek Mill's current battle with the legal system.
The Philadelphia native, who burst onto the national rap scene after signing to Rick Ross' Maybach Music Group in 2011, has enjoyed a successful career as one of the more bankable street rappers in hip-hop today, but has spent much of his time in the limelight frequenting courtrooms as a result of a criminal case from 2008. At the time, the then 18-year-old was convicted of drug and gun possession.
Meek, who would serve eight months in prison before being released on parole under an agreement that he would serve five years on probation, has seen his career come to multiple halts as a result of violating parole for activities that many would deem as miniscule. Having served two prison sentences and been subjected to house arrest from the time he inked his record deal, Meek Mill is no stranger to the legal system and has spoken out about his injustice on various platforms, including social media, interviews and in his music.
Earlier this month, the hip-hop community was outraged after Meek Mill was sentenced to two to four years in state prison for yet another violation of probation, a sentence that could severely impact the rapper's future and possibly derail his career. Since the MC's sentence, the hip-hop community and celebrities across entertainment have come forward to speak on the rapper's behalf, including JAY-Z and the co-owner of the Philadelphia Sixers, both of whom acknowledged the rap star's character and the positive impact he's had on his community.
Earlier this week, a rally took place in the rapper's honor, uniting artists like Rick Ross, PnB Rock, Macklemore, Freeway and more in support of Meek's unjust sentence. Now the Wins & Losses rapper and his legal team are trying to schedule a new bail hearing.
In light of Meek Mill's ongoing fight against the legal system, XXL has compiled a timeline of his criminal case and all of the events that have led to his current incarceration. Free Meek Mill.
In 2008, prior to his star turn as a rapper, Meek Mill was arrested in his hometown of Philadelphia and charged with illegal possession of a firearm and drug possession after police found a gun on him while walking to the corner store. Although Meek was reportedly beaten by the police, resulting in a concussion and one of his hair braids being ripped out, he was also charged with assault after two police officers claimed that Meek tried to run them down with a gun and murder them. Meek would be sentenced to 11 to 23 months in prison, but was released in 2009, after accepting a five-year parole agreement.
On Halloween day in 2012, Meek Mill was pulled over while driving in Philadelphia and arrested after police claimed they smelled marijuana coming from his car. Although Meek would be released the following day without being charged, the arrest allegedly affected his endorsement deal with Puma, as well as caused him to miss a paid appearance worth $40,000. The incident would result in the rapper suing the Philadelphia police department for civil rights violations, false imprisonment and invasion of privacy in 2014.
Meek Mill is banned from traveling by Judge Genece Brinkley after failing to stop scheduling performances during a previous hearing. Brinkley, who ordered the rapper to stop scheduling performances as of Nov. 16, 2012, would order Meek to stay in his hometown of Philadelphia for the holidays. This marked the beginning of the tumultuous relationship between the judge and MC.
In March 2013, Meek Mill appeared in court for a hearing related to a possible violation after his probation officer, Treas Underwood, alleged that the rapper had left the state of Pennsylvania without giving a detailed itinerary of his traveling destinations.
Meek, who argued that his travels plans are subject to change on a whim, also shared his fears of being stagnant in Philadelphia, arguing, “Every time I come back to Philadelphia, someone tries to shoot me or get me back in trouble.” The rapper's request for a new probation officer, due to his contentious relationship with Underwood, was also denied by Judge Brinkley during the hearing.
In June 2013, Meek Mill appeared in court for a probation hearing after failing to report travel plans, which he attributed to the nature of his career and many of his professional engagements coming on short notice. "I have my own record label with seven artists. ... I do radio. I do interviews," Meek reasoned, while his attorney also argued that due to his high-profile career, keeping tabs on the MC is a particularly easy task.
In addition to failure to report traveling, Meek also fell in hot water after statements he made on social media spurred fans to send death threats to Meek Mill's probation officer, prompting Judge Brinkley to order the rapper to take etiquette classes, concluding that the classes were "more important than any concerts he might have,"
On July 11, 2014, Judge Brinkley revoked Meek Mill's parole as a result of behavior that was deemed "questionable" by the District Attorney and herself. Meek would be sentenced to three to six months in prison and would eventually be released on Dec. 2, 2014, after serving nearly five months in prison.
In December 2015, Meek Mill was found guilty of parole violations yet again by Judge Brinkley, largely stemming from his failure to report his traveling plans, in addition to other behavior Brinkley deemed unacceptable. Meek would be banned from working or performing prior to a scheduled hearing on Feb. 5, 2016, during which he would be sentenced.
On Feb. 5, 2016, after over a month of uncertainty, Meek Mill would dodge a trip to state prison after Judge Brinkley sentenced the rapper to 90 days of house arrest after finding him guilty of parole violation. The house arrest began on March 1, 2016, and would end in June of that year. Meek would celebrate his release from house arrest with a "Welcome Home" party at Playhouse in Los Angeles.
Nearly a year after being released from house arrest, Meek Mill was involved in a scuffle that took place at a St. Louis airport. The incident, which occurred on March 15, stemmed from an airport employee attempting to get a picture with the MMG rapper. Meek would not be arrested, but would be charged with misdemeanor assault and be issued a summons to appear in court. The charges would eventually be dropped in October.
This past summer, Meek got into more hot water after he was caught popping wheelies on a dirt bike while in the Dyckman section of Manhattan. On Aug. 18, 2017, after videos capturing Meek Mill pulling stunts on a dirt bike went viral on social media, NYPD caught wind of the clip and charged the rapper with reckless endangerment. The felony charges would ultimately be dropped under the condition that Meek stay out of trouble for six months and complete community service.
Three months after charges were dropped stemming from a reckless endangerment incident, Meek Mill would be sentenced to two to four years in state prison during a parole hearing following his multiple run-ins with the law throughout the year. Judge Brinkley handed down the sentence and addressed Meek in court, stating, "I gave you break after break, and you basically just thumbed your nose at this court."
The judge concluded that being charged with assault and reckless endangerment (despite the charges being dropped) violated his probation terms and justified the heavy-handed sentence. Meek would be taken into custody immediately, with many entertainers and associates of the rapper voicing their outrage over the decision and lending words of support via social media.