The 26-year-old rapper, born Robert RahMeek Williams, filed a civil rights lawsuit against the City of Brotherly Love as well as one former and current police officer. He believes that authorities only stopped him and his entourage because they were black, and therefore deemed suspicious.
"In neighborhoods like where I come from, four black males in a car … we're always being asked to be searched," he said on the stand. "All I was doing that night was going to work and doing what I had to do."
Three men accompanied the MMG signee on the night of the incident, one of which was a VP at Warner Bros. Records. Another was an armed off-duty cop. They were stopped on their way to hop a private jet to Atlanta so that Meek could fulfill an appearance obligation, and were instead held by police for several hours. According to his suit, the delay cost the "Amen" spitter more than $50,000, including the $22,500 cost to charter the aircraft, a loss of record sales from his Dreams & Nightmares debut and caused Puma to cut his sneaker endorsement to $650,000 from $2 million — all due to his allegedly tarnished image. He is suing for emotional distress as well.
Given his celebrity status, Meek argues that officers turned him into a public spectacle as crowds formed around the Philly-born star at the time of the run-in. Police also took photos of him and posted them on social media.
On the contrary, authorities pointed out that Meek retweeted the photo with cops and could not have sustained blows to his public persona because he's has been open about his criminal past. "Plaintiff has also repeatedly referred to his drug use and criminal history in his song lyrics," wrote Deputy Solicitor Amanda Shoffel in her trial brief. "Many of these songs appear on the same album for which he is claiming a loss in record sales … for harm to his 'image.'"
Cops claim the incident was a routine traffic stop and reportedly smelled marijuana emitting from the vehicle. No drugs were found.
The lead officer involved, Andre Boyer, had a reputation for being an "aggressive narcotics" officer, according to a police memo revealed in court. Boyer has since been fired from the department and holds the most civil rights complaints among all of his former co-workers.
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(Photo: Prince Williams/FilmMagic)
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