Jay-Z wants to take down some corrupt cops

Team Roc, his social justice organization, is calling on the Biden administration to investigate a shady police department in Kansas.

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In a recent open letter addressed to the U.S. Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta, Jay-Z’s social justice organization Team Roc urged the Department of Justice (DOJ) to investigate the Kansas City, Kansas, Police Department for its sordid history of racist police misconduct.

In the letter released today, Team Roc cautions the DOJ against continued inaction in investigating the KCKPD by reasoning that systemic civil rights violations going unpunished sends a message to the “targeted minority communities held hostage to the whims of the carceral state that justice does not exist for them, that their lives do not matter.” The social justice organization’s primary stance is the KCKPD history of police misconduct warrants the DOJ to open a “pattern or practice” investigation as it shows their conduct “deprives persons of rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States,” according to the DOJ’s Law Enforcement Misconduct Statute 42 U.S.C. § 14141. In conjunction with the release of the letter, Team Roc put faces to their words by releasing a video on YouTube featuring numerous Black people with personal recollections of KCKPD’s misconduct.

The sheer volume of abuses of power committed by the KCKPD is staggering and more than enough reason for Jay-Z’s social justice arm of Roc Nation to intensify its push for justice. An investigation into KCKPD by Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) records revealed “numerous civil rights violations being committed by KCKPD officers on a routine basis,” FBI records state. The report highlights police officers severely beating detainees who do not file complaints against the officers. because the police have developed a culture where those complaints are ignored. In an incident from the ‘90s reported by the FBI, a KCKPD officer responded to a disturbance involving numerous young people by allegedly assaulting at least one of them while yelling racial slurs and demanding the kids “lay down in the street while the street was wet and it continued to rain.”

Team Roc became involved in pushing for a DOJ investigation into KCKPD after decades of allegations against former KCKPD officer Roger Golubski came to light last year. In February 2020, Lamonte McIntyre won a $1.5 million settlement for his lawsuit against the state of Kansas over him being wrongfully convicted and jailed for 23 years for a double murder he never committed. McIntyre accused Golubski in 2018 of raping his mother in the 1980s and then framing him of a double murder a decade later. In September 2021, Team Roc sued KCKPD in order to receive documents on alleged police misconduct, and specifically named Golubski as one of the alleged perpetrators on KCKPD.

Team Roc is calling out the DOJ’s inaction today because this letter isn’t the first in their attempt to bring justice to those wronged by the KCKPD. On December 20, Team Roc sent a letter to Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke laying out, in excruciating detail, how the KCKPD’s decades of civil rights violations warrant a DOJ investigation into the entire police department. While Golubski was the subject of a federal grand jury investigation last year, the KCKPD as a whole has yet to be subjected to a DOJ investigation.

Jay-Z has yet to publicly speak on the matter, but Team Roc has used its considerable cultural influence to bring awareness to this issue, including taking out a full-page ad in The Washington Post in October calling for a DOJ investigation. But, the fact Jay-Z’s influence and decades of first-hand accounts of police misconduct aren’t enough to bring justice is a slap in the face of any Black person who wants to believe the law is on their side.