It’s been a wild week for Meek Mill.
The Philadelphia-raised rapper is no stranger to the media, and has been making a lot of headlines this month, just not always for the right reasons. But, as they say, all publicity is good publicity.
On October 31st of 2012, the entertainer was driving his Range Rover SUV through Philadelphia at around 7:30pm with some friends and business colleagues as passengers. The vehicle was pulled over by Philadelphia police officers Andre Boyer and Michael Vargas.
In what the rapper’s attorneys have labeled as an “unconstitutional stop, frisk and detention practice”, the officers demanded to search the vehicle based on their report of allegedly catching hints of marijuana aromas emanating from within.
Well aware of his rights (or so he thought), Meek Mill refused the search and asked to be allowed to get on with his day. Instead, he was pulled from the vehicle, and along with his passengers, was handcuffed as the officers searched the Ranger Rover anyway, without consent.
Also detained alongside Meek Mill was an off-duty narcotics officer from Florida and the senior vice president of Warner Bros. Records.
Of course, they found nothing. The car was clean, and after taking the rapper to the police station for a drug test, it was determined that he was too. Still, he was detained for 10 hours, overnight, and released at 4:30am on September 1st, 2012.
The detention, which Meek says was based on nothing more than racial profiling, is said to have directly cost the rapper a lucrative two million dollar shoe deal and another $39,000 when he missed a performance in Atlanta the same night he sat in a holding cell in downtown Philly.
Additionally, he claims, he lost out on a $22,000 deposit on a private jet for the Atlanta gig, as well as potentially millions of dollars in future endorsements and marketing opportunities. For this, and his own pride, Meek Mill filed a civil lawsuit against officers Boyer and Vargas and the city of Philadelphia, seeking $400,000 in restitution for what his lawyers are calling invasion of privacy and false imprisonment.
Meek Mill is pretty sure he knows why he and his friends were pulled over and subsequently harassed that night, and he said so under oath, “In neighborhoods like where I come from, four black males in a car … we’re always being asked to be searched.”
In fact, Officer Boyer was under investigation at the time of the stop in question, and would later be fired for lying to Internal Affairs about an incident during a separate traffic stop.
Additionally, the judge in the civil suit ruled that Officer Boyer’s past record of falsely using the “Is that pot I smell?” tactic to illegally search vehicles could be used against him in the civil suit. The records made available in the case show that Boyer “continuously and repeatedly placed inaccurate information on official documents in the process of completing marijuana arrests” between 2006 and 2008.
The judge did stop short of allowing past complaints filed against Officer Boyer for force and verbal abuse, calling them irrelevant to the current case, and also denied access to Boyer’s full police record, which was ruled to be an “excessive” request.
On May 2nd, the verdict was read in the civil suit Meek Mill filed against the city and its two police officers. Despite the mountain of evidence painting Boyer as a rogue cop, the case was tossed out and the officers walked away completely unpunished.
Leaving his lawyers behind to mop up the mess, Meek Mill stormed out of the courtroom muttering the words “I quit” over and over. Commenting on his way out about the jury of his so-called peers, Mill stated, “They ain’t from where I’m from. I don’t really expect them to understand.”
Just a few days earlier, on April 30th, Meek Mill was riding high on some social media love from the incredibly popular hip hop artist, Drake, who tweeted out that Mill’s track Dreams and Nightmares (Intro) was “really one of the best rap moments of our generation…”
Coincidentally, that was the same album that Meek Mill was trying to get to Atlanta to promote on that fateful night in the fall of 2012.