/  01.18.2022

Team Roc, the social justice arm of JAY-Z’s Roc Nation, is applying more pressure in its quest to launch a federal investigation into the Kansas City, Kansas Police Department. On Tuesday (Jan. 18), the organization wrote an open letter accusing the Department of Justice of ignoring their calls for a federal probe.

“The DOJ’s continued inaction tells targeted minority communities held hostage to the whims of the carceral state that justice does not exist for them, that their lives do not matter,” the letter, which is addressed to U.S. Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta, reads.

According to Team Roc and the Midwest Innocence Project, there is enough evidence of misconduct within the police department to support a “pattern or practice” investigation.

Reports of misconduct date back to the 90s, including a federal investigation that found numerous complaints about alleged civil rights violations. Over the years, more than 200 Kansas City officers have also been accused of excessive force and other misconduct. Last year, an ex-detective with the department was also investigated for allegedly exploiting Black women for sex and framing people for crimes.

Team Roc joined community members in calling for a federal probe last year and sued the police department in September. As reported by REVOLT, the organization also took out a full-page ad in The Washington Post calling for an investigation.

The Justice Department has not yet responded to the letter. Last fall, Gupta told The Post that “whether or not an investigation is opened, we take all of the requests and information provided seriously.” Amidst an influx of investigation requests, Gupta also said that by increasing the agency’s budget they’ll be able to hire more lawyers to field more probes.

Last year, Kansas City Police Chief Karl Oakman said he would cooperate with federal investigators.

“Our relationship with the community is of utmost importance which is why we are focused on strengthening current relationships and restoring those that have been broken,” he said in a statement.

See Team Roc’s letter on Instagram below.

 

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