Meek Mill: Cops didn't protect my neighborhood

Rapper Meek Mill speaks with CNN's Michael Smerconish about criminal justice reform following his release from prison after serving nearly five months behind bars.

Posted: Dec 2, 2018 11:44 AM
Updated: Dec 2, 2018 11:44 AM

Rapper Meek Mill says he and many other formerly incarcerated people are "trapped inside of a system that's extremely hard for us to get out (of)."

The hip-hop artist spoke candidly about prison reform and his own experiences with the criminal justice system in an interview Friday with CNN's Michael Smerconish.

"There's a lot of things in the system that clearly don't make sense," he said, adding that elements of the criminal justice system are often "targeted" towards marginalized people. "It's keeping many young black men caught up in the system without even committing crimes."

Meek also responded to criticism that his many run-ins with the law, including his 2008 gun charge, should disqualify him from leading a campaign for prison reform.

"I grew up in in America in a ruthless neighborhood where we were not protected by police," he said. "We grew up with people selling drugs in our neighborhood on our front steps. We grew up in ruthless environments. We grew up around murder."

The rapper then asked Smerconish, "If you grew up in my neighborhood, you see seven people die a week, I think you would probably carry a gun yourself?"

"Yeah, I probably would, yes," the CNN host responded.

Meek also reflected on his first arrest, for when he allegedly pointed a firearm at police officers when he was 18 years old.

"I'm not the only one that gets found guilty for these things. Cops charge people with these things at an alarming rate," said Meek, who maintains his innocence. "Pointing a gun at a police officer is suicide for a black young man. I never thought about committing suicide in my life."

Aside from prison reform, Meek said he doesn't really "keep up with politics," something that separates him from rapper Jay-Z, who appears on his new album, "Championships." Jay-Z, who has been outspoken about his political views, uses his verse on the song "What's Free" to comment on differences between him and Kanye West, who has openly supported President Trump.

While Meek said he doesn't consider Jay-Z's verse a jab at West, he said he finds West's views to be inconsistent with those of the hip-hop community as a whole.

"Kanye came out of nowhere and just went red hat, and that was kind of against everything we represent," he said, referencing the Trump campaign's signature red "Make America Great Again" cap that West has frequently worn. "We came up fighting, and fighting for our rights for a long time, and what that red hat represents don't really represent what we've been fighting for our whole lives."

Despite his criticism of West, Meek did praise President Trump's bipartisan effort for prison reform.

"I'm not a politician, but I feel like anything that a president does to fix laws and statues that don't make any sense and are unfair to American people is the right thing to do," he said.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 343505

Reported Deaths: 7543
CountyCasesDeaths
Hinds23932444
DeSoto23229283
Harrison20527329
Rankin15411291
Jackson15232252
Madison10959227
Lee10719179
Jones9047169
Forrest8723159
Lauderdale7884244
Lowndes7054151
Lamar702989
Lafayette6548124
Washington5595139
Pearl River5196152
Bolivar4954134
Oktibbeha494398
Panola4771112
Warren4728128
Marshall4701106
Pontotoc447773
Union433279
Monroe4330137
Neshoba4281181
Hancock428088
Lincoln4176116
Pike3667113
Leflore3627125
Tate353388
Alcorn350974
Sunflower347694
Scott341176
Adams340988
Yazoo339376
Copiah324968
Simpson322891
Itawamba314680
Coahoma314085
Tippah306568
Prentiss298863
Covington293484
Leake285475
Marion284181
Wayne277543
George272251
Grenada269488
Newton262364
Tishomingo239770
Winston236784
Jasper230648
Stone229637
Attala226373
Chickasaw219060
Holmes200174
Clay197654
Clarke186880
Tallahatchie183742
Calhoun181332
Smith179235
Yalobusha171540
Walthall145748
Lawrence142826
Greene140134
Amite137543
Noxubee135235
Perry133538
Montgomery133044
Carroll126431
Webster121232
Jefferson Davis116734
Tunica114227
Benton106725
Claiborne105331
Kemper102429
Humphreys100133
Franklin87923
Quitman84719
Choctaw82619
Wilkinson78032
Jefferson71328
Sharkey51618
Issaquena1736
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 587405

Reported Deaths: 11536
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson853851591
Mobile48932864
Madison37517533
Shelby27280257
Tuscaloosa27171465
Montgomery26172627
Baldwin25399329
Lee17224181
Calhoun15401334
Morgan15170291
Etowah14954370
Marshall13116235
Houston12077293
Elmore10915219
St. Clair10763252
Limestone10725158
Cullman10546205
Lauderdale10255254
DeKalb9508192
Talladega8949188
Walker7793288
Autauga7563114
Jackson7400117
Blount7362139
Colbert6703142
Coffee6365132
Dale5650117
Russell480243
Chilton4771117
Covington4749125
Franklin458181
Tallapoosa4519156
Escambia441383
Chambers3949125
Dallas3743163
Clarke371263
Marion3463107
Pike332579
Lawrence3263100
Winston298773
Bibb290465
Geneva283983
Marengo262467
Barbour250961
Pickens245562
Butler240872
Hale235578
Fayette227065
Henry213945
Monroe202141
Randolph201144
Cherokee199248
Washington185239
Macon170552
Crenshaw168358
Clay166259
Cleburne161345
Lamar151038
Lowndes145455
Wilcox132331
Bullock126542
Conecuh121332
Coosa118329
Perry110528
Sumter110333
Greene99137
Choctaw64425
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