Jay-Z and Team Roc Donate $1 Million to Correct Wrongful Convictions in KS

In Summary

Jay-Z's Team Roc foundation has donated $1 million to the Midwest Innocence Project in Kansas City, Kansas, to bring awareness to wrongful convictions in Wyandotte County. 

Aside from being a Grammy-winning rapper and Beyoncé’s husband, Jay-Z has never shied away from spotlighting Black injustices and inequities among underprivileged communities, as evidenced by his recent $1 million in donations to examine wrongful convictions in Kansas City’s Wyandotte County. 

The donations were raised by Team Roc, a division of Jay-Z’s Roc Nation that focuses on social justice and philanthropy. 

RELATED: Jay Z speaks to Minnesota Governor about justice 

The Kansas City Star’s Luke Nozicka reports the Midwest Innocence Project is working on over 40 cases throughout the county involving people who were falsely convicted. The cases include that of Lamonte McIntyre, who spent 23 years in prison for two murders he did not commit, and Olin “Pete” Coones Jr., who spent 12 years in prison for murder before being exonerated, only to die 108 days later from cancer that went undiagnosed. 

“It’s a huge investment,” said Midwest Innocence Project Executive Director Tricia Rojo Bushnell, per Nozicka. “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.” 

RELATED: Yusef Salaam of ‘Exonerated Five’ Plans to Run for New York Senate Seat 

Team Roc posted on Instagram last week, calling out federal prosecutor Terra Morehead for coercing false testimonies and listening in on defendants’ phone calls, among other things, in light of the situation surrounding the corruption in Kansas City’s legal system. 

“For years, federal prosecutor [Terra] Morehead has been known to lack veracity, yet, she remains employed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office,” the post reads. “It is not acceptable for someone to hold a role within the justice system when they have been accused of coercing false testimonies, listening in on defendant’s legal calls and other disreputable offenses.” 

RELATED: Beyoncé and Jay-Z Launch HBCU Scholarship Program with Tiffany & Co. 

The post also directly mentions the United States Justice Department, asking why has “the corruption in Kansas City, Kansas not been investigated?” since Kansas’ State Attorney Duston Slinkard is aware of these accusations. 

Bushnell said about 40 other people convicted in Wyandotte County have asked the innocence project to look into their cases.

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