Yesterday on Instagram, Colin Kaepernick posted a note of support for Meek Mill, who was recently sentenced to two to four years in jail for violating probation. The blacklisted NFL quarterback posted an photo of Meek with a caption describing America’s incarceration of black men, stating “Meek Mill is a victim of systemic oppression.” Jay-Z has also called out the sentencing as “unjust and heavy handed” and delivered an impassioned speech in Meek’s defense.
Roughly 2.2 million people are incarcerated in the United States, an increase of 1.9 million since 1972. America professes to be the land of the free, yet it has the world’s largest prison population – with one-quarter of the globes prisoners, and just 5% of the total population. Disproportionately America’s prisons are filled with Black bodies. This criminal (in)justice system, ripe with racial discrimination, stigmatizes, profiles, and targets young Black men for arrest at a young age, having its roots in their hyper-policed neighborhoods that they are raised in, and sadly extending into what should be a safe space—the classroom, via the school to prison pipeline. Meek Mill is a victim of this systemic oppression. Yes, there needs to be action surrounding sentencing reform, but there needs to also be action taken around abolishing the racialized norms of injustice that can lead to Meek Mill serving 2-4 years in prison for non-violent parole violations, and Brock Turner only serving 3 months in prison for three felony counts of sexual assault. 📸: @karlfergusonjr
Separately, the New York Post reported on Monday that the Philadelphia judge who sentenced Meek, Genece Brinkley, is now the focus of an FBI probe. A source told the Post, “The feds have an interest in the judge and [her] potential relationships. This is an investigation looking into a possible extortionate demand. Undercover agents have been in the courtroom monitoring the Meek proceedings since April 2016.”
Meek’s lawyer, Joe Tacopina, alleges that Brinkely displayed bias towards the rapper when handing down his sentence. Tacopina also claims that during a private court session — allegedly with Meek’s then-girfriend Nicki Minaj present — Brinkely requested that Meek remake Boyz II Men’s “On Bended Knee” with a shoutout in the judge’s name.
The embattled rapper has been on probation since his 2008 conviction for drug dealing and gun possession. He spent part of 2014 in jail after failing to report his travel plans and was again sent to jail in 2016 for unapproved travel. Meek released his latest album, Wins & Losses, in July of this year.
Meek currently remains in Pennsylvania state prison.
This article originally appeared on Spin.