On Monday, Meek Mill phoned from prison into CNN Tonight with Don Lemon to discuss his sentence and possible retrial. The interview is part of an ongoing media blitz as the Philly rapper remains imprisoned on a 2-4 sentence for probation violations. Watch his interview above, beginning at 3:00.
Speaking about his case, Meek Mill declared his innocence in his original 2007 gun and drug conviction that formed the basis for the probation that would eventually send him to jail. District Attorney Larry Krasner has called for the conviction to be thrown out after Mill's arresting officer Reginald Graham was accused of falsifying testimony in Mill's case by another former police officer.
Mill pointed to the ongoing Starbucks controversy in Philadelphia, where a store manager called police on two black men who were waiting for a friend, as an example of a situation that can land someone who's on probation back in jail. "If I would have gotten locked up... just for sitting in Starbuck by mistake, and got a technical violation, legally, a judge would be able to sentence me to two to four years, three to six years, five to 10 years just for having police contact," Mill said, adding that his case was a systemic issue. "A lot of people, they get locked up for technical violations and stuff like that, and they lose a job and they lose family, their kids."
The interview concluded with Meek Mill warning young minorities in high risk neighbourhoods to "be careful" when dealing with situations that may put them in contact with the justice system. But things can change, he said, if people go to the polls. "[The] most important thing I want to say is vote. When it’s time to vote for governor, when it’s time to vote for judges, D.A.s, vote. Let’s vote for people that are into justice reform and helping the urban community, because, we would have been affected by it, but we’re not moving and we’re not holding any political presence."
Judge Genece Brinkley has resisted calls for Meek Mill's release from Mayor Jim Kenney and Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolfe, and District Attorney Krasner. Meek Mill's legal team has filed a request for Brinkley's dismissal from the case, and are currently appealing for the rapper's release with the state's supreme court.
Thumbnail photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for BET