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Jay-Z's Roc Nation Files Lawsuit Seeking Kansas City, Kansas, Police Department Records

Carlos Moreno
KCUR 89.3
Khadijah Hardaway, a Justice for Wyandotte organizer, speaks out about Kansas City, Kansas, police at an April 1 press conference in front of the Wyandotte County Courthouse.

The KCKPD finds itself being scrutinized on a number of fronts for allegations of misconduct, both past and present.

Roc Nation, the business enterprise founded by rapper and entrepreneur Jay-Z, filed a lawsuit this week against the Kansas City, Kansas Police Department in a quest to obtain records that would show evidence of officer misconduct.

Roc Nation is arguing that the department should be compelled to release records that would reveal complaints made against police officers, as well as records the department supplied to the FBI and other law enforcement agencies about its own employees.

Earlier this year, Roc Nation sought KCKPD records of complaints made about and internal investigations of acts of misconduct by its members. Those alleged acts range from providing illegal drugs to inappropriate sexual arrangements with women in the Kansas City community to fabricating witness testimony, according to the lawsuit.

“These documents will help identify the scope of the problem, any potential evidence of a cover-up and also the potential root causes...of the problems,” says the Roc Nation lawsuit, which was filed by New York attorney Alex Spiro.

The KCKPD previously denied Roc Nation access to many of the records requested under the Kansas Open Records Act, which provides public access to government records but also gives officials discretion to refuse disclosure of certain records. Among the documents government officials can withhold from the public are personnel records and most criminal records.

In its lawsuit, Roc Nation says KCKPD’s long history of corruption and misconduct support the public’s interest in obtaining access to police records because it could show what claims were made about KCKPD employees and whether the department took steps to address the complaints.

The KCKPD finds itself being scrutinized on a number of fronts for allegations of misconduct, both past and present.

Among those is an ongoing lawsuit against former KCKPD detective Roger Golubski, who is accused of systematically exploiting Black women in Kansas City, Kansas, to obtain sexual favors and to fabricate testimony to help clear cases he used to handle for the department.

That lawsuit, which is pending in federal court in Kansas, was brought by Lamonte McIntyre, a Black man from Kansas City, Kansas, who served 23 years for a double homicide that he did not commit and that was investigated by Golubski. McIntyre was freed in 2017.

Golubski has denied the allegations against him in legal filings.

The Roc Nation lawsuit pointed to a number of other occurrences of misconduct by the KCKPD, including an officer charged with felony indecent liberties with a child, excessive force against a construction worker, an officer buying sex while on duty, allegations of racial discrimination and a 2011 FBI sting operation that revealed that a special unit of KCKPD officers stole property while they served search warrants.

The KCKPD did not offer a response to the lawsuit. In other reports, a KCKPD spokesperson said it produced some of what Roc Nation sought but that the department was not required to fulfill requests for personnel and criminal records.

The Midwest Newsroom an investigative journalism partnership including KCURIPRNebraska Public Media NewsSt. Louis Public Radio and NPR.

Steve Vockrodt is the investigative editor for the Midwest Newsroom.
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