Team Roc, the philanthropic social justice group run by the record label of hip-hop mogul Jay-Z, has filed suit against the Kansas City, Kansas police department for documents it says allege cop misconduct.
Jay-Z (Greg Allen/)
“The KCKPD is entrusted by the public to help maintain peace in the community,” the suit filed Monday in the Wyandotte County District Court claims, according to a copy obtained by KCTV-TV. “Yet, for years, it appears that officers have abused their power and engaged in wrongdoing.”
The lawsuit accuses the department of refusing to grant requests for documents related to internal investigations “into wrongdoing by specific members of the KCKPD, preventing the public from evaluating whether the KCKPD has adequately supervised its officers, investigated any complaints, and addressed the allegations of misconduct against members of its force.”
Alleged misconduct includes one officer reportedly charged with “buying sexual relations,” reported CBS News, and sex crimes involving a minor.
The suit seeks the information, it says, to allow the public to gauge the department’s response and whether there’s “sufficient oversight” within the department.
Team Roc attorney Alex Spiro said that some of the information was supplied but not enough to comply with the Kansas Public Records Act, which allows the public to inspect certain documents.
“Because of the 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 told ABC News. “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 police department acknowledged receiving the suit and said it had complied with previous document requests by providing “hundreds of the requested records per the Kansas Open Records Act (KORA) with some exceptions,” Nancy Chartrand, the department’s public information officer, told ABC News.
“KORA does not require the disclosure of personnel records and criminal investigation records, for example, without specific circumstances,” she said. “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.”
Lamonte McIntyre, who spent 23 years wrongfully imprisoned for a murder he didn’t commit, was among those who welcomed the 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,” he and his mother, Rose McIntyre, said in a statement obtained by KCTV. “Their lawsuit seeking public records and information is in the public’s interest and should help bring much-needed transparency and accountability.”Internet Explorer Channel Network