According to the lawsuit, Team Roc, the philanthropic arm of Jay-Z’s Roc Nation label, is accusing KCKPD of covering up complaints filed against members of its Investigative Division. Allegedly, numerous allegations of misconduct and discrimination by Kansas City cops, including an officer charged with committing sex crimes and two officers charged with assaulting an inmate, have been withheld.
“These documents will help identify the scope of the problem, any potential evidence of a cover-up, and also the potential causes,” the lawsuit states.
Attorney Alex Spiro, who represents Team Roc, claims the department provided some of the documents via the Kansas Open Records Act, but the information released 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,” 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.”
Nancy Chartrand, public information officer of the Kansas City Kansas Police Department, said that the authorities have already released the required documents.
“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,” she argued. “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,” she added. “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.”
“But for me, I’m from Marcy Projects. I’m from Brooklyn, and this has been a part of my life. These are communities we grew up in, friends that I have [and] people around me,” Jay-Z said.
“We’re all prisoners to this because until everyone’s free, no one’s free,” he added.
Dania Diaz, managing director of Team Roc, believes the lawsuit will bring national attention to the alleged misconduct within the KCKPD.
“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,” she said.