Jay-Z’s Team Roc Sues Kansas City Police Department Over Alleged Misconduct
Team Roc’s fight for social justice and police reform continues as the organization takes legal action against the Kansas City, Kansas Police Department (KCKPD).
Team Roc, the philanthropic branch of Jay-Z’s Roc Nation, has claimed that the KCKPD hid alleged misconduct, and wants access to documents that would explain complaints filed against individuals in the department’s investigative unit. Team Roc is also requesting documents connected to training and supervision of officers.
The lawsuit claims the KCKPD said it would provide a number of documents
“pertaining to the complaints made against members of the Investigative Division,” but has “refused to produce documents pertaining to any steps that the City has taken in response to those Complaints, including any investigations or disciplinary proceedings initiated as a result of the complaints.”
The complaint adds,
“These documents will help identify the scope of the problem, any potential evidence of a cover-up, and also the potential causes.”
It also points to several recent incidents from officers being indicted for stealing from homes where they were carrying out search warrants to a Black woman who sued the department for gender and race discrimination.
Team Roc’s attorney Alex Spiro said that the KCKPD has handed over some information that Team Roc asked for via the Kansas Open Records Act, but it was “not sufficient.”
“Because of the [Kansas] Public Records Act that allows interested parties to look at various states and government documents, we’re allowed to see certain files and how the government handled certain issues. The government has attempted to block our access to those files, and so we’re suing to see what they don’t want us to see.”
While the Kansas Bureau of Investigation notes that exceptions to the Kansas Open Records Act range from criminal investigation records, criminal intelligence information and “most personnel records”, the lawsuit adds that Team Roc is
“seeking documents outside of the scope of personnel records to determine if complaints are being seriously addressed and whether there is sufficient oversight and supervision over the KCKPD.”
The organization also addressed the lawsuit on social media.
Nancy Chartrand, public information officer of the KCKPD said in a statement,
“The Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, KS has received notice that Roc Nation has filed a petition for a writ of mandamus in the Wyandotte County District Court today regarding an earlier open records request. The Unified Government has previously produced hundreds of the requested records per the Kansas Open Records Act (KORA) with some exceptions.”
“KORA does not require the disclosure of personnel records and criminal investigation records, for example, without specific circumstances. In response, Roc Nation has filed a 28-page petition stating there is a special interest in disclosing all records so the public can seek justice. Once the petition has been thoroughly reviewed, the Unified Government will follow-up by filing a response.”
While the lawsuit is just one of the issues the department is facing the department’s spokesperson said earlier this year,
“The Kansas City, Kansas Police Department continues to be willing, and available, to assist any agency working any investigation involving our department. Our relationship with the community is of utmost importance, which is why we are focused on strengthening current relationships and restoring those that have been broken.”
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