On Monday, Jay-Z’s Team Roc, the philanthropic division of his entertainment company Roc Nation, filed a lawsuit against the Kansas City Police Department, alleging that it refused to hand over documents that could help identify potential coverups of police misconduct.
According to ABC News, the lawsuit filed in the district court of Wyandotte County is requesting any documents related to complaints against the Investigative Division of the department and documents pertaining to complaints against or investigations into individual officers with a history of abuse. Team Roc is also requesting any documents concerning the policies and procedures for the training and supervision of officers.
Here’s more about Team Roc’s latest push for police reform, from ABC:
Attorney Alex Spiro, who represents Team Roc in the suit, told ABC News that while the KCKPD provided some information requested through the Kansas Open Records Act, the documents the department provided were “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,” Spiro said. “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.”
The department has previously refused to hand over documents pertaining to investigations or disciplinary hearings following any complaints, according to the suit. Nancy Chartrand, the public information officer for the KCKPD, told ABC that the department is not required to share those kinds of documents unless there are “specific circumstances.” She says the department will be thoroughly reviewing the 28-page petition before responding.
According to NBC affiliate KSHB, the lawsuit mentions that Team Roc wants documents pertaining to the case of a former KCKPD police officer, Nicholas Schafer, who was charged with aggravated indecent liberties with a child younger than 14 in 2020. Team Roc had requested records about it through the Kansas Open Records Act on Aug. 14, but the department refused to produce some of the requests, KSHB notes. This case is just one of many incidents listed in the suit.
The lawsuit comes after local protestors called on the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate Kansas City police for alleged misconduct and discrimination, ABC reports.
The suit filed on Monday references several of those reported incidents, including an officer who is charged with committing sex crimes involving a minor, two officers charged with a felony and misdemeanor assault over the mistreatment of an inmate, officers indicted on charges of stealing from homes where they were serving search warrants as well as a federal lawsuit in which a Black female KCKPD officer sued the department for alleged race and gender discrimination.
Earlier this year, The Root reported how Roger Golubski, the lead homicide investigator for the Kansas City Police Department, allegedly targeted Lamonte McIntyre as a suspect in a double homicide investigation in 1994 after his mother, Rose, refused his sexual advances. Lamonte was 17 years old at the time and spent 23 years in prison before he was freed last year. He received $1.5 million and a certificate of innocence. No evidence linked him to the case.
Lamonte and Rose McIntyre, who both sued KCKPD in 2018, released a statement through their attorneys about Team Roc’s suit: “We are pleased that Jay-Z and Team Roc are delving into the long and troubling history of the Kansas City, Kansas Police Department,” they said, according to KSHB. “Their lawsuit seeking public records and information is in the public’s interest and should help bring much-needed transparency and accountability.”