Rapper Jay Z’s social justice philanthropic group Team Roc filed a lawsuit Sept. 20 in the Wyandotte County District Court against the Kansas City, Kansas Police Department (KCKPD), to obtain complaints of alleged police misconduct.
On Aug. 15, Team Roc filed a records request through the Kansas Open Records Act (KORA) with the city, requesting records to look at the scope of misconduct claims against officers. The group said it hopes to use the complaints to evaluate if the department’s training and supervision is adequate.
The lawsuit says that the city refused to produce three of their records requests, agreed to produce four others and said it had no records of two other requests. Team Roc hopes to obtain the records it didn’t receive in the request through the lawsuit filed this week.
The suit says, “it is an open secret that the KCKPD has a history of misconduct. For decades members of the KCKPD abused their positions of power and authority to solicit and coerce fabricated witness statements and testimony, plant evidence, procure sexual favors, withhold exculpatory evidence, and conceal their own misconduct and ignore the misconduct of others.”
The suit cites numerous officers who have been charged with various crimes since 2011, including former police chief Terry Ziegler and his former partner Roger Golubski as perpetrators of alleged misconduct, and Nicholas Schafer, who was employed by KCKPD when he was charged with aggravated indecent liberties with a child younger than 14 in June 2020.
The suit also cites former KCKPD officer Travis Toms who was charged last year after buying sexual relations.
Team Roc said it requested the complaints and other records to help make the misconduct public. According to the lawsuit, Team Roc hopes the information will help potential victims seek justice.
The lawsuit says the documents requested will help “identify the scope of the problem, any potential evidence of a cover-up, and also the potential root causes of the problem.”
“The KCKPD is entrusted by the public to help maintain peace in the community. Yet, for years, it appears that officers have abused their power and engaged in wrongdoing,” the lawsuit reads. “To the extent that the KCKPD did not take any steps to remediate these issues, the public should have a right to know so they can organize and take appropriate steps to effect change.”
“We are pleased that Jay-Z and Team Roc are delving into the long and troubling history of the Kansas City, Kansas Police Department,” Lamonte and Rose McIntyre said in a statement through their attorneys. “Their lawsuit seeking public records and information is in the public’s interest and should help bring much-needed transparency and accountability.”
The McIntyres have sued KCKPD, alleging Golubski targeted Lamonte in a double-murder case after Rose refused his sexual advances.
KCKPD told KSHB 41 News, “KORA does not require the disclosure of personnel records and criminal investigation records, for example, without specific circumstances.”
In response, Roc Nation 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 file a response.
Dania Diaz, Team Roc’s managing director told CBS News that she hopes the lawsuit brings national attention to the alleged misconduct within the police department. “With regard to any public institution that we pay to support and protect us, we have to put the pressure on so that we are supported and protected, and certainly so are the people in Kansas City, Kansas.”
Team Roc pushes for criminal justice and police reform. Last year, Jay-Z, Team Roc and rapper Yo Gotti financially backed a federal lawsuit against the Mississippi prison system on behalf of more than 100 inmates, accusing Parchman prison of subjecting inmates to alleged “barbaric” conditions. Litigation in that case is ongoing.
Jay-Z has also joined forces with rapper Meek Mill in founding REFORM Alliance, a criminal justice reform organization.