Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Roc Nation Files Lawsuit Against Kansas City Police


Jay-Z's Roc Nation, LLC has filed a lawsuit against the government in Kansas City, Kansas and its police department, accusing the parties of covering up alleged misconduct by officers.

A petition was filed on Monday, September 20 in the District Court of Wyandotte County, Kansas. In it, Roc Nation, LLC claims city officials have refused to produce records in response to multiple records requests involving officers who have allegedly been accused of misconduct.

"It is an open secret that 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 petition begins.

"These abuses were enabled by the KCKPD's failure to adequately train and supervise its officers, particularly those in the Criminal Investigations Division. And, all the while, the blue veil of silence within the KCKPD has allowed these bad actors to avoid any accountability and has prevented the KCKPD's horrific story of widespread corruption from being told," the court filing continues.

Roc Nation, LLC  was founded in 2008. Its philanthropic division, known as Team Roc, is "committed to social justice, working to effect positive change, raising awareness of injustice, and bringing about collective action in communities across the United States," the court docs specify. The petition was filed under the Kansas Open Records Act.

The filing includes examples of alleged misconduct within the police department, including an incident in 2020 where a police officer was "charged with buying sexual relations while on duty and in uniform." Other examples listed in the docs include an incident where an officer was charged with felony aggravated indecent liberties against a child, and a separate case involving eight KCKPD officers who were allegedly sued for entering a home and pointing guns at a Kansas City resident performing construction. The latter incident resulted in the alleged victim being kicked "until he lost consciousness, causing permanent damage to his back," the petition claims.

Other incidents date back to 2018 and 2011. The court docs recall an incident in 2018 in which a female police cadet filed a formal complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Kansas Human Rights Commission against supervisors. The officer claimed she was fired for reporting she was sexually harassed and assaulted by her former supervising officer.

The court filing also points to a sting operation conducted by the FBI and three KCKPD officers who were "federally indicted for a multi-year conspiracy to steal cash and other personal property from residents' homes while serving search warrants." The three officers pled guilty to a felony conspiracy to violate civil rights of citizens, the docs further state.

The Police Scorecard allegedly ranked the Kansas City Police Department in Kansas 447 out of 500 police departments in the U.S., according to the petition.

Roc Nation claims the city has refused to produce documents for multiple requests. The plaintiff claims a release of its requested documents would address "whether there is sufficient oversight and supervision over the KCKPD."

"Although the City has agreed to produce documents pertaining to the complaints made against members of the Investigative Division of KCKPD, they have refused to produce documents pertaining to any steps that the City has taken in response to those Complaints, including any investigation or disciplinary proceedings initiated as a result of the complaints," the filing states.

Dania Diaz, who is the managing director of Team Roc, said in a statement this week that she hopes the lawsuit shines a light on the alleged misconduct within the 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," she said.

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