Rapper Meek Mill was released from prison on bail Tuesday after a ruling from Pennsylvania’s highest court, according to NBC10 in Philadelphia. In a highly dramatic scene, the rapper was driven from the state prison in Chester, Penn., on Tuesday evening directly to a nearby parking lot, where he and his friend, Philadelphia Sixers co-owner Michael Rubin, boarded a helicopter and flew to the nearby Wells Fargo Arena to attend the team’s fifth game of the NBA playoffs.
“I feel great,” Mill told a NBC10 reporter as he entered the arena.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ordered his release Tuesday after a controversial ruling in November in which the rapper was sentenced to two to four years in prison for violating his probation.
“We are thrilled that the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has directed Judge Brinkley to immediately issue an order releasing Meek on bail,” lawyer Joe Tacopina said in a statement. “As we have said all along, Meek was unjustly convicted and should not have spent a single day in jail.”
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In the decision, the court questioned cited the credibility of Mill’s arresting officer, Reginald Graham, who was since been included in a list of possibly corrupt Philadelphia police officers.
Meek’s case rallied multiple celebrities, with Rev. Al Sharpton, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and even Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney all visiting the rapper in prison. Jay-Z wrote an op-ed in the New York Times last November in which he said, ““What’s happening to Meek Mill is just one example of how our criminal justice system entraps and harasses hundreds of thousands of black people every day.”
After Mill’s release, he issued a new statement saying: “Today, Meek Mill, a son of Philadelphia, is a free man. He was incarcerated unjustly and caught in a probation trap for years by a broken system. Now we can celebrate his release. We thank every individual that has supported and fought alongside Meek every step of the way”
In November, Meek Mill’s bail request was denied by Judge Genece Brinkley, who said he is a “flight risk” and a “danger to the community,” according to court documents obtained by TMZ.
Brinkley also questioned the accuracy of the rapper’s clean drug tests, claiming that he may have used a substance called “Fast Flush” to clean out his system.
Brinkley sentenced Mill (born Robert Rihmeek Williams) to 2 to 4 years prison on Nov. 6, citing a failed drug test and unapproved travel, stemming from a 2008 gun and drug case. She said she had given him multiple chances but he hadn’t complied. According to evidence from probation officers, the musician tested positive for narcotics numerous times. The sentence was unexpected as prosecutors recommended Mill not be imprisoned for the probation violations, mentioning he’s been drug-free since January and has complied with most requirements of probation.
Mill was arrested in March at St. Louis International Airport and charged with misdemeanor assault after an altercation with two airport employees. In August, he was stopped for reckless endangerment while driving his motorcycle in New York City. Both cases were dropped after he agreed to fulfill community service requirements.
I’d like to thank God, my family, my friends, my attorneys, my team at Roc Nation including Jay Z, Desiree Perez, my good friend Michael Rubin, my fans, The Pennsylvania Supreme Court and all my public advocates for their love, support and encouragement during this difficult time. While the past five months have been a nightmare, the prayers, visits, calls, letters and rallies have helped me stay positive. To the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office, I’m grateful for your commitment to justice – not only for my case, but for others that have been wrongfully jailed due to police misconduct. Although I’m blessed to have the resources to fight this unjust situation, I understand that many people of color across the country don’t have that luxury and I plan to use my platform to shine a light on those issues. In the meantime, I plan to work closely with my legal team to overturn this unwarranted conviction and look forward to reuniting with my family and resuming my music career.
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