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‘We’re Suing to See What They Don’t Want Us to See’: Jay-Z’s Team Roc Files Suit Against Kansas City, Kansas Police Over Withholding Records of Alleged Cop Misconduct

Jay-Z’s philanthropic group, Team Roc, has filed a lawsuit against the Kansas City, Kansas Police Department over reports of law enforcement misconduct. Now the organization wants more access to those records as part of their overall plan to push for police reform. 

In the suit, filed on Monday, Sept. 20, in Wyandotte County, Kansas, Team Roc asked a judge to order the KCKPD to produce documents it withheld in responding to Team Roc’s earlier request through the Kansas Open Records Act for police records that would shed light on complaints made against different cops.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – AUGUST 28: Jay Z attends 40/40 Club Celebrates 18-Year Anniversary With Star-Studded Event at 40 / 40 Club on August 28, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Shareif Ziyadat/Getty Images for 40/40 Club)

In the petition to the judge, Team Roc described what wasn’t included in the records it received: “The KCKPD has, however, refused to produce documents relating to any 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.”

This time the criminal just advocacy group is targeting the department’s investigative division specifically, ABC News reported. 

Alex Spiro, an attorney for Team Roc, explained to the outlet how KCKPD’s compliance 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.”

The suit went on to cite several examples of alleged misconduct and directly named former police chief Terry Ziegler and his former partner Roger Golubski as participants in the alleged misconduct.

Furthermore, they noted a 2018 incident in which a female police cadet filed a formal complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Kansas Human Rights Commission against the department. 

The woman, who was not identified, claimed she was fired by Zeigler in retaliation for reporting she had been sexually harassed and sexually assaulted by her supervising officer. Team Roc said no one in the department tried to put an end to alleged corrupt practices.

The petition also mentioned  Zeigler’s controversial living arrangement — a lake house he rented from the city in 2016 for $19,000 — as well as his connection to Golubski, who was accused of framing an innocent Black man for a homicide he didn’t commit. 

The petition claimed that with access to “these documents will help identify the scope of the problem, any potential evidence of a cover-up, and also the potential causes.”

The department acknowledged the suit against them, releasing a statement:

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. 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.

This suit against Kansas police is just one of many the rapper and his team have worked on since joining forces with fellow rapper Meek Mill in founding REFORM Alliance, a criminal justice reform organization. 

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