Rapper Meek Mill was affectionate and cheerful on Tuesday when he arrived at the Philadelphia 76ers game against Miami Heat shortly after being released from prison.
The-30-year-old finally won freedom from prison for an unusually harsh sentence that triggered protests pointing to racial biases in US probation laws.
The South Philly-born artist reportedly told players this evening that he felt ‘great’ as he hugged them and made conversation.
Mill, who was jailed in November over a case from his teenage years, was ordered out on bail by Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court.
As he walked at least temporarily free, Mill thanked supporters who campaigned for him as well as the Philadelphia district attorney’s office that sided with him.
‘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,’ Mill wrote on Twitter.
‘I’d like to thank God, my family, 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.
‘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,’ said Mill, whose last album ‘Wins and Losses’ reached number three on the US chart.
Rapper Meek Mill is seen hugging Philadelphia 76ers players after he arrived to the Wells Fargo Center for the game against Miami Heat on Tuesday
The rapper (right) was all smiles after he won freedom from prison for an unusually harsh sentence
Mill arrives at the arena before the game between the Philadelphia 76ers and the Miami Heat in Game Five of Round One of the 2018 NBA Playoffs on April 24, 2018 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Mill is seen flying on a helicopter with Philadelphia 76ers co-owner Michael Rubin (front left) and others
Mill is seen boarding the helicopter after being released from prison Tuesday afternoon
Mill, raised by a single mother after his father was killed, was thrown into jail over his arrest on drug and gun possession charges in 2008, well before the rapper born as Robert Rihmeek Williams achieved stardom.
At what had looked like a routine hearing, Philadelphia judge Genece Brinkley handed Mill a term of between two and four years for violating terms of parole, including scheduling shows that conflicted with the court schedule and entering a publicized scuffle in St. Louis.
Ordering Mill out on bail, the state’s Supreme Court cited ‘credibility issues’ over a police officer who was a witness.
Mill has said he was badly beaten during the 2008 arrest and placed a bloody mugshot of himself as the cover of his ‘DC4’ mixtape.
The rapper took to his Twitter page on Tuesday afternoon after he was released from prison Mill has been ordered out on bail by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, overruling the judge
A general view of a rally protesting the imprisonment of Meek Mill outside the Philadelphia Criminal Justice Center during the rapper’s status hearing on April 16, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
A sign in Philadelphia is hung that reads: ‘Stand with Meek Mill.’ Protesters argued the rapper received a ‘harsh’ sentence for his parole violation
The Supreme Court did not throw out the case but asked the local court to reach a resolution within 60 days. It also did not remove Brinkley but noted she ‘may opt to remove herself from presiding over this matter.’
In addition to street rallies, Mill enjoyed the support of celebrities including hip-hop mogul Jay-Z, whose Roc Nation management signed Mill.
In an op-ed last year for The New York Times, Jay-Z said that Mill’s case was ‘just one example of how our criminal justice system entraps and harasses hundreds of thousands of black people every day.’
On Tuesday, Mill’s supporters expressed their excitement about the news of his release.
Jay-Z said in a statement: ‘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.’
The New England Patriots wrote to their Twitter page: ‘Justice for our friend. Finally free’
Mill attends his ‘Wins And Losses’ album signing at DTLR – Rhode Island Ave on July 26, 2017 in Washington, DC.
The New England Patriots wrote to their official Twitter page: ‘Justice for our friend. Finally free.’
The rapper was reportedly picked up from prison by Philadelphia 76ers co-owner Michael Rubin, who he was spotted hopping in a helicopter with.
NBA Insider for Yahoo Sports, Shams Charania said on Twitter: Meek Mill — who received release from jail Tuesday — has plans to attend 76ers-Heat Game 5 tonight in Philadelphia.’
Probation, which dates from English common law, was initially seen as a compassionate way for courts to grant freedom to people who pose little risk.
But a survey by The Marshall Project, a non-profit news organization that covers the US judicial system, found that at least 61,250 people — and probably far more — are in prison across the United States for minor parole violations like missing appointments, failing drug tests or staying out past curfew.
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