He's free! Well, kinda. Meek Mill left prison on bond on April 24 after spending a very controversial six months behind bars. He was picked up from the clink in a helicopter by Sixers co-owner Michael Rubin, who immediately brought him to the Sixers game, and had him ring the ceremonial Liberty Bell to kick off the game against the Heat. He was greeted by thunderous applause from fans on both sides, before joining comedian Kevin Hart in his courtsie seats. What better way is there to leave jail?
Meek Mill rings the pregame Liberty Bell in Philly. pic.twitter.com/tWXPLBxXgY
— Legion Hoops (@LegionHoops) April 25, 2018
But why are people so happy to see him? Well, fans were shocked and horrified in November when Meek was sentenced to two to four years in prison for violating probation, despite the recommendations of the district attorney and Meek's own probation officer. Though they suggested "no incarceration for technical violations" after charges were dropped regarding arrests from a fight and popping wheelies in NYC, the judge decided that he needed to be punished, saying, "I gave you break after break, and you basically just thumbed your nose at this court."
Meek certainly didn't expect to stay in prison for as long as he did, and certainly not for the full two to four year sentence. NBA star James Harden actually visited him after the holidays, and told fans on Snapchat that he "got a chance to see my bro Meek Mill today. His spirit is high and hopefully we can get him out by February." He also said that Meek planned to drop some fire music when he gets out, so now we have that to look forward to!
Meek's lawyers have said that the judge has a weird obsession with Meek, which is why she's treating him so harshly. "(Meek's) frustrated, really frustrated and knows he's being treated different than anyone else," said his attorney Joe Tacopina to CNN. "If his name was John Smith, he wouldn't be in jail and he certainly wouldn't be on probation. He's been on probation for nearly 10 years. Nobody goes on probation for 10 years." The probation stems from gun and drug charges when Meek was just a teenager.
Fans quickly started a Change.Org petition to demand that Meek be set free. The petition aimed to "ask that the Board of Pardons closely review Meek’s application for Pardon and have his unjust prison sentence remedied." So far over 400k people have signed, and many celebrities have promoted it. "Sign the petition to overturn the blatant injustice on @Change #Justice4Meek http://Justice4Meek.com ✊?✊?✊?✊?We wit u young King. Stay Up. This too shall pass," tweeted T.I.
— T.I. (@Tip) November 9, 2017
JAY-Z, who has Meek signed to his label, also made his position clear: "The sentence handed down by the judge, against the recommendation of the assistant district attorney and probation officer, is unjust and heavy-handed," said the Roc Nation CEO to CNN. "We will always stand by and support Meek Mill, both as he attempts to right this wrongful sentence and then in returning to his musical career."
Even Meek's sworn enemy Drake agreed that he shouldn't be in jail, and gave him a shout-out on his track "Family Feud" with Lil Wayne. "We gon' have to break the billi' curse. I need my paper long like "A Milli" verse. Or too long like a sentence from a Philly judge. F–k is the point in all the beefin' when we really blood?" he sang. Hopefully this is the beginning of the end of Meek's legal troubles.