Rapper suing city claims documents on police will bolster suit

North Philly rapper Meek Mill says he lost funds when police incorrectly kept him from a concert he was to give. A judge has questioned actions of an officer in the case.
North Philly rapper Meek Mill says he lost funds when police incorrectly kept him from a concert he was to give. A judge has questioned actions of an officer in the case. (DAVID SWANSON / Staff)
Posted: April 15, 2013

For hip-hop star Meek Mill, a 2008 police finding that Officer Andre Boyer repeatedly falsified official documents will bolster his case that Philadelphia does not properly train street cops, his lawyer said.

The North Philadelphia rapper, whose real name is Robert Williams, is suing the city, Boyer, and Officer Michael Vargas, alleging that the policemen illegally detained him on Halloween and made him miss an Atlanta concert. He contends he lost the deposit on a private jet in addition to his lost earnings from the concert.

Dennis Cogan, one of the performer's lawyers, said it was always difficult in a federal civil rights lawsuit to show that the city did not act forcefully enough in stopping abuses. He said the police investigation helps to prove that.

"It will have an effect on the case," Cogan said Friday. "We're talking about institutional indifference."

The lawsuit says Boyer and Vargas detained the performer near 11th Street and Girard Avenue because of racial profiling in the department's "stop-and-frisk" program.

It contends the program is not run in a way that would protect the constitutional rights of citizens. The city denies the allegations.

Additional ammunition may come from statements by Common Pleas Court Judge Paula Patrick, who last year questioned Boyer's understanding of the laws after he testified in a criminal case that he frisked everyone in every car he stopped.

Williams' federal lawsuit, filed in January, has an April 29 hearing date.

The singer, meanwhile, is on a short probationary leash for his 2008 Philadelphia conviction on gun and drug charges.

Common Pleas Court Judge Genece Brinkley, who has overseen the case from the outset, has repeatedly reminded him that he could have been in prison instead of soaring to the top of charts when his 2012 mixtape, Dreamchasers 2, was released.


Contact Mark Fazlollah

at 215-854-5831 or mfazlollah@phillynews.com.

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