November 22, 2017
Meek Mill's surprise imprisonment earlier this month drew protesters to Center City and garnered support from a star-studded list of people, Colin Kaepernick among them, who believe the rapper's punishment is unjust and excessive.
The Philadelphia native, sent to state prison for probation violations in a nearly decade-old gun and drug case, is also trying to beat back a wrongful death lawsuit stemming from a shooting outside a show in Connecticut last December. Four people were shot and two men died outside Wallingford's Toyota Oakdale Theatre.
The plaintiffs in the lawsuit are attempting to hold Meek Mill and the venue accountable for shooting, claiming the rapper's violent lyrics had a role in the attack.
An attorney representing the family of 31-year-old Travis Ward, one of the victims outside the Live Nation venue, cited songs titles such as "Body Count" and "Oh Kill 'Em," adding that there was inadequate security at the show.
Meek Mill's argument reportedly suggests it's absurd to blame artists and their work for what amount to random incidents that may be motivated by numerous, more decisive factors.
The documents point to the following Springsteen lyric: "Well, I got some beer and the highway's free."
Would Springsteen be sued and held liable, the documents ask, if a woman were to be injured by a drunk driver outside one his shows?
Previous documents from the wrongful death lawsuit took an ugly turn in August when the defendants said the plaintiffs were racially discriminating against Meek Mill's fans by calling them "thugs."
Meek Mill, whose current predicament inspired an online petition signed by more than 390,000 people, has asked the judge to drop his name from the lawsuit.
Attorneys representing the rapper filed an appeal last week to have him released from prison in Delaware County, arguing the judge went beyond the bounds of a proper judicial role and made the case personal.