Jay-Z’s Roc Nation just scored a huge legal victory. Team Roc, the entertainment company’s philanthropic division, helped get charges filed against an 11-year-old Pledge of Allegiance protester dismissed.
Jabari Talbot, a sixth-grade student at Lawton Chiles Middle Academy in Lakeland, Florida, was arrested after he refused to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance on Feb. 4. According to Bay News, Talbot did not participate in the pledge and told his substitute teacher that the American flag is racist and the national anthem was offensive to Black people.
He was later arrested by a school safety officer, sent to a juvenile detention center and charged with disrupting a school function and resisting arrest without violence, according to an affidavit obtained by Bay News.
Team Roc took to Twitter announcing its support of Jabari Talbot in February. “We stand with Jabari and his mother to stop the over-policing and criminalization of Black students. #Team Roc, “ the brand wrote.
On March 1, the philanthropic division revealed that charges against Jabari were dropped. “The system tried to force Jabari Talbot into diversion. Jabari did not commit a crime. Guilty plea refused. Case dismissed. We applaud and support you Jabari. #JabariTalbot”
Team Roc attorney Alex Spiro released the statement in the wake of the dismissal: “Jabari is a courageous and intelligent young man who deserves all the credit for standing up for his beliefs. He should’ve never been arrested or entangled in this situation—his freedom of speech rights
Dhakira Talbot, the boy’s mother, commented on the huge victory. “Although Jabari’s case has been dismissed, I do want people to know this isn’t just about my son—this prejudice happens to African-American kids all across the country. The fight isn’t over, which is why I have a civil rights complaint pending with the U.S. Department of Education. At the end of the day, I want to ensure that no child ever has to experience this injustice again and we will appreciate everyone’s continued support.”
Team Roc has won several legal victories in recent months. Legal representation for the entertainment company joined the immigration case of rapper 21 Savage and successfully aided in Meek Mill’s release from prison.
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Jasmine Washington is a beauty-obsessed journalist by day and a trap music connoisseur by night. A lifelong New Yorker, she got her start as an intern at the now-defunct Juicy Magazine. Jasmine joined the EBONY.com team as a writer, penning daily stories on all things Black culture and entertainment.