Fresh from a dispute with fellow Philly rapper Cassidy, Meek Mill has taken aim at a new target – the city of Philadelphia and its police department.
Mill – known to police as 25-year-old Robert Williams – has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the city of Philadelphia and two police officers for allegedly illegally detaining him and posting his picture on Instagram following an Oct. 31 car stop.
“We’re trying to find what the immediate financial loss is to Robert,” his attorney Anthony Petrone said of the incident. “We know that, at a minimum, he forfeited a deposit for a private plane that he hired to take him to Atlanta that night. He had to forfeit a personal appearance fee for the appearance he was scheduled to make later that evening.”
According to the complaint, Williams was driving a Range Rover SUV when around 7:30 p.m., police pulled him over near 11th Street and Girard Avenue. The suit claims the stop was “without cause or justification,” but resulted from the racial profiling many officers allegedly use when conducting stop-and-frisks.
The two officers named in the suit handcuffed Williams and took him to the 22nd Police District, where he was allegedly held against his will for about nine hours.
It is there that “the officers posted and published, or caused to be posted and published, on Instagram and other social media websites” photos depicting Williams in police custody, according to the suit.
Williams also tweeted and posted on his own Instagram account a picture of himself at the station, but Petrone said Williams is not the one who first took it. “I know my client wasn’t in a position while he was in custody to be taking any photographs,” Petrone said. “So obviously, these photographs were taken of him while in police custody.”
Philadelphia police on Thursday declined to comment due to the ongoing litigation.
Allegations and damages
The complaint claims:
– The two arresting officers intentionally caused Williams to “undergo an unlawful seizure by, among other things, following an unconstitutional stop, frisk and detention practice.”
– The city acted with “deliberate indifference” in failing to properly sanction or discipline officers who engage in racial profiling while conducting stop-and-frisks.
Williams is also seeking:
– Compensation for the loss of “numerous sponsorships and endorsements.”
– Punitive damages for the forfeiture of his “solitude, seclusion and privacy.”
– Damages for anxiety and embarrassment stemming from his “being placed in a false light.”
Though no charges were filed in connection with the auto stop, Williams did get in some hot water for the incident after claiming that he missed a late October court hearing because he was stuck in New York City due to Hurricane Sandy-related weather conditions.
But the photos that surfaced depicting him at the police precinct around the time of the court date put Williams in Philadelphia at the time of the missed hearing, and a judge on Dec. 17 refused to lift his travel ban so he could tour.