Shortly after the 30-year-old rapper was freed, 76ers co-owner Michael Rubin picked him up in a helicopter and brought him directly to the Wells Fargo Center, where he was greeted by fans and his hometown NBA team.
Meek Mill, also known as Robert Rihmeek Williams, opened Game 5 by ringing the ceremonial pre-game bell ― a replica of the Liberty Bell ― as fans in the arena erupted in cheers.
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) April 25, 2018
Williams had been serving two to four years at the Pennsylvania State Correctional Facility for violating probation that stemmed from a decade-old drug and guns violation. The probation violations involved 2017 arrests for a fight and for popping wheelies on a dirt bike.
His original sentencing, which took place on Nov. 6, sparked large protests and drew hundreds of demonstrators, including a number of celebrities and athletes, to the streets of Philadelphia to demand justice for the rapper.
Williams’ allies argued that his sentencing was an example of how the justice system treats people of color unfairly. In a November op-ed for the New York Times, Jay-Z pointed out that Williams was 19 when he was arrested on gun and drug charges and had already served an eight-month sentence.
“What’s happening to Meek Mill is just one example of how our criminal justice system entraps and harasses hundreds of thousands of black people every day,” Jay-Z wrote.
On Tuesday, a Pennsylvania Supreme Court ordered Williams’ release and directed a judge to grant him bail due to “credibility issues” with a police officer who was a witness in his 2008 conviction.