Rapper Meek Mill pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor gun charge Tuesday, ending more than a decade-long legal fight with his felony conviction dropped last month.
The rapper has spent most of his adult life under court supervision stemming from a 2007 arrest for allegedly assaulting a Philadelphia police officer and illegally possessing a firearm, resulting in prison sentence for drug dealing and gun possession. He was released early on parole, but was sent back to prison multiple times for violating his parole.
With doubts about the credibility of Mill’s arresting officer, Reginald Graham, because he allegedly engaged in criminal actions, last month the Pennsylvania Superior Court overturned the felony conviction and removed the city judge who sent him back to prison over minor probation violations.
Mill has said he’s been treated unfairly in his case, sparking a #FreeMeek movement and nationwide debate on mass incarceration. The 32-year-old rapper, born Robert Williams, acknowledged he had a gun, but denied pointing it at police or selling drugs.
“Meek free,” Mill told a crowd of supporters gathered outside the courtroom. “I’m not on probation.”
“I’m extremely grateful that my long legal battle is finally behind me and I appreciate that it has sparked a much-needed discussion about probation reform and the inequalities that exist within our two Americas,” Mills said in a statement posted to Twitter. “I have always told the truth — that as a teenager, who saw many around me die from senseless gun violence, I carried a gun for protection. I take responsibility for that and — in conjunction with my work on the @REFORM Alliance — I’ll continue to use my platform to make communities safer and reform our criminal justice system.”
Mill thanked his supporters and said he would continue fighting for others through this REFORM Alliance, a criminal reform organization, which he launched earlier this year.
“I want to express my gratitude to all of my supporters, especially JAY-Z, Desiree Perez, Michael Rubin, my legal team and everyone else who stood by me throughout the years,” Mill continued in his Twitter posts. “It’s important that we now channel our energy into helping the millions that are unjustly trapped into our criminal justice system.