Jay-Z’s Team Roc Raises $1 Million To Investigate Wrongful Convictions In Kansas City

Dozens of inmates who claim to have been wrongfully convicted have applied to have their case investigated by the Midwest Innocence Project.

Jay-Z Wearing Suit and smiling

Producer Shawn Carter aka Jay-Z attends ‘The Harder They Fall’ World Premiere during the 65th BFI London Film Festival at The Royal Festival Hall on October 06, 2021 in London, England.
John Phillips/Getty Images for BFI

Jay-Z’s quest to make an impact on justice reform continues with Team Roc’s facilitation of donations totaling $ million to assist the Midwest Innocence Project, which investigates wrongful convictions in Wyandotte County in Kansas.

According to The Kansas City Star, the funds accrued will cover the Midwest Innocence Project’s budget for one year and will go towards its efforts to exonerate inmates in five states, including Kansas, where the organization is based. Tricia Rojo Bushnell, executive director of the Midwest Innocence Project, spoke on Team Roc’s contribution and how it will help impact their fight to create justice and transparency in Wyandotte County and beyond. “It’s a huge investment,” Rojo Bushnell said. “The ability to look at these cases … is really going to continue to shine a light on what we need to do to actually provide a just criminal legal system in Wyandotte County.”

Lamonte McIntyre—who served 23 years in prison after being found guilty of two murders he did not commit—was charged with multiple wrongful convictions. Olin “Pete” Coones Jr. had served 12 years in prison as a result of his wrongful conviction prior to his death. He recently passed away from cancer months after being exonerated of murder in Wyandotte County. According to Bushnell, dozens of other inmates who claim to have been wrongfully convicted have applied to have their case investigated by the Midwest Innocence Project, making Hov’s most recent show of philanthropy an essential one in Wyandotte County’s quest for legal equality.

Prior to their seven-figure donation, Team Roc took legal action against the Kansas City’s Police Department and sought the release of investigative files, personnel records, and officer misconduct allegations last month. According to Team Roc’s legal team, the local police force has a history of abusing their authority, with a list of heinous accusations levied against them, including fabricating witness statements, planting and tampering with evidence soliciting sexual favors from victims and witnesses, and other misconduct. One officer, former Wyandotte County Detective Roger Golubski, has been accused of exploiting and sexually assaulting multiple Black women during his time on the force.

Another move made on the part of Team Roc to put the pressure on Kansas City police was the purchase of a full-page advertisement in The Washington Post urging the Department of Justice to look into the decades of alleged atrocities and misconduct plaguing Kansas City and Wyandotte County. “The police and eyewitness reports of criminal behavior perpetrated by members of the Kansas City, Kansas police department, over the past several decades, are staggering,” it read. “They detail graphic accounts of rape, murder, sex trafficking, and corruption so rampant and so blatant, it would be shocking if even a single allegation were true.”

A spokeswoman for the Justice Department did confirm “receipt for requests for investigations,” but offered no further comment on Team Roc’s involvement or the nature of the investigation in question.

Aside from his social justice efforts, Hov’s mission to get to the bag while infiltrating various industries is still in full effect, as he and two venture firms, Headline and Poseidon, have collectively invested $19 million into Denver-based cannabis tech company Flowhub.

Providing compliance, point of sale, inventory tracking, and business intelligence solutions to various dispensaries, Flowhub follows the Brooklyn don’s multi-million dollar acquisition of a cannabis dispensary and delivery operator based in Santa Monica and will possibly be integrated with Jay-Z’s other cannabis venture, Monogram.

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