The frame-up of Philadelphia rapper Meek Mill by Philly cops bears a telling resemblance to the case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. Both stand as indictments of the entire injustice system.
Meek Mill’s arresting officer Reggie Graham, who retired in 2016, is one of 29 police officers named in a “Do Not Call List” of corrupt cops released by the office of the District Attorney in March of 2018. Over 800 arrests are attributed to these crooked cops, whose crimes span from DUI to aggravated assault and murder.
Two ex-cops have come forward to accuse Graham of giving false testimony and fabricating evidence in order to lock up Mill on gun and drug offenses in 2008. Retired cop Jerold Gibson testified that the arresting officer, Reggie Graham, lied under oath during Mill’s trial. The second ex-cop, Jeffrey Walker, accused Graham of stealing money during drug busts.
Graham was the prosecution’s sole witness, and Mill was convicted and sentenced on his testimony alone.
Yet Mill remains in prison after a purported violation of his ridiculous 10-year probation.
The wildly unjust treatment of Meek Mill is just one of thousands of cases that enable the state to keep youths of color in prison. After being convicted on phony charges, they are then released to live under years of probation, which makes them extremely vulnerable to rearrest and further sentencing.
While a campaign to “Free Meek” has been boosted by many fellow musicians, including Jay-Z and Sean Combs, professional athletes and many of his fans. it is perhaps less understood how strikingly Meek’s case parallels that of the Philadelphia Black Liberation fighter, Mumia Abu-Jamal. Abu-Jamal has been held captive by the injustice system for nearly four decades, after being framed for the murder of a cop in 1981.
Abu-Jamal was shot, gravely wounded and then severely assaulted during his arrest. Meek Mill, testified Walker, was not only beaten during his arrest but swore under oath that Graham bragged about arresting “that rapper boy” and “whoop[ing] his ass.” The court stenographer assigned to Mumia’s 1982 trial later gave a sworn affidavit that Judge Albert Sabo bragged in his chambers, “Yeah, I’m gonna help them fry the n——r.”
Abu-Jamal’s repeated requests for appeal and retrial were denied by Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Ron Castille, the same former district attorney who denied his appeals and signed his death warrant. Similarly, Mill’s request for a retrial will still be determined by Judge Genece Brinkley — the same judge who sentenced him in 2008 and revoked his parole in November 2017.
The cops, the district attorney’s office, the courts and the parole boards each play their role in the injustice system. One sitting member of the Philadelphia parole board, who is also a member of the Fraternal Order of Police, continues to block any hearings that could grant parole to the MOVE 9, innocent yet still imprisoned for nearly 40 years.
Prosecutors withhold crucial evidence from clients’ defense attorneys, and cops are called to give false testimony. This is a systematic, institutionalized frame-up system; Meek Mill and Mumia Abu-Jamal are just two of its victims.
Note: Button with the design at top of page will be available for a donation at most Mumia Abu-Jamal related events in Philadelphia and New York in the coming months. All proceeds will go to the work to free Mumia.