Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins was among a host of celebrities who spoke on behalf of jailed rapper Meek Mill during a panel on criminal justice reform at the University of Pennsylvania.
Jenkins joined retired boxer Bernard Hopkins, Philadelphia 76ers co-owner Michael Rubin, Rev. Al Sharpton and fellow Philadelphia-based rapper Lil Uzi Vert in support of Mill, who was sentenced to state prison for two to four years last year after allegedly twice violating an 11-year probation term.
“The positive thing out of all of this, if there’s any, is that he has a chance to stand for millions of people that deal with this on a regular basis,” said Jenkins, via CBS Philadelphia, “and as long as he continues to fight it, and in turn, we fight for him, in turn we fight for everybody.”
Jenkins has been an outspoken supporter of criminal justice reform in the wake of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s protest of racial injustice, serving as a leader on the Players Coalition that secured a $100 million contribution to benefit African-American communities.
Mill’s jail sentence stemmed from a 2007 gun charge. He served eight months in prison and received five years of probation — a sentence that was twice extended after multiple violations for performing outside Philadelphia in 2014 and 2016. He was arrested in March 2017 for an alleged assault at St. Louis International Airport and then again in November 2017 for an alleged traffic violation in New York City.
“He was sentenced two years for popping a wheelie,” added Jenkins, via the Philly Voice. “It’s an example of just how ridiculous sometimes our system can be and how we’re wasting resources, talent, money and locking people up for things that don’t make our communities safer.”
The arresting officer, his trial judge and the district attorney during Mill’s original arrest have all been embroiled in controversy. Officer Reginald Graham, the lone witness at Mill’s trial, was on the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office’s list of untrustworthy officers, and a fellow officer has since charged him with falsely testifying. The FBI has reportedly investigated Judge Genece E. Brinkley for her conduct towards Mill. And former D.A. Seth Williams is in jail on federal corruption charges.
Mill’s mother, Kathy Williams, made a rare public appearance at University of Pennsylvania’s “REFORM: Bringing Injustice to Light” discussion panel, urging Philadelphia’s current district attorney, Larry Krasner, to intervene on her son’s behalf, and the rapper himself even spoke via phone from jail.
“I’m happy to shed light on a situation that we’ve been going through for years,” said Mill, via the Philly Voice. “God picked me to be the one to bring the light to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.”
Jenkins said Mill’s music served as inspiration for the Eagles on their Super Bowl run this season.
“Meek means more to the city more than anything,” said Jenkins, via The Daily Pennsylvanian. “We are a team that embodies the spirit of city and he’s a great representation of that, and he reflects it.”
He added, via The Inquirer: “Throughout our playoff run, his music was bringing us inspiration and bringing us energy. And at the end of the day, we wanted to bring that support back to him.”
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