In early July, JAY-Z and Roc Nation’s social justice arm Team Roc urged a Wisconsin district attorney to prosecute a police officer for shooting and killing three men. Wauwatosa police officer Joseph Mensah fatally shot 17-year-old Alvin Cole in February, 24-year-old Jay Anderson in 2015 and 25-year-old Antonio Gonzales in 2016. In all three deaths, Mensah failed to administer CPR and for one of them, he did not enable his dash camera.
JAY and Team Roc sent a letter to Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm demanding he prosecute Mensah and planned to support the call to action with a billboard. However, according to The Source, the effort was blocked by the Lamar Advertising Company, which claimed the message of “Officer Mensah Must Be Held Accountable” “could have an effect on a future action” or be an “issue with criminal implications.”
Team Roc reportedly attempted to reach a compromise with Lamar Advertising by changing the proposed billboard’s text to “Police Officers Shouldn’t Murder Innocent People.” Yet, this was also deemed unacceptable by the company.
After two denials, Team ROC attorney Jordan Siev wrote a letter to Lamar Advertising’s representatives and accused them of “improperly censoring Roc Nation’s speech on a matter of considerable public interest.”
According to The Source, the letter also alleges that “Lamar [Advertising] simply does not want Roc Nation to make a statement that relates to Officer Mensah in any way, despite the significant public importance of the issue.”
More recently, JAY-Z was also involved in a call for justice for Danroy “DJ” Henry, a Black college student who was gunned down by a white police officer in 2010. JAY, Rihanna, Pharrell Williams, Taraji P. Henson, Gabrielle Union, Mary J. Blige and more signed a letter addressed to US Attorney General William Barr that urged the Department of Justice to reopen Henry’s case.
See Team Roc’s initial letter to Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm on Instagram below.
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District Attorney John Chisholm, How many more people must die at the hands of Officer Joseph Mensah? The lives of Black, Brown and LGBTQ+ citizens in your county MATTER. Since joining the Wauwatosa Police Department in 2015, Mensah has recklessly shot and killed THREE men of color, inexplicably failed to enable his dash camera, and failed to render medical aid during these tragic instances. Prosecute him. #justiceforjay #ripalvin #riptony