Wyandotte County needs some straightening.
Something in the water ain’t right in Kansas City, Kansas. Over the past several years the courts of Wyandotte County have handed down some serious prison time to Black folks who were wrongfully convicted of heinous crimes. Fortunately, there are people on the ground who are working hard to right these wrongs. More fortunately, people with means and resources are willing to help those closest to the cases to achieve their goals.
According to a Kansas City Star report, Jay-Z’s social justice division of Roc Nation, Team Roc, has reached into their pockets for some money, cash, and notes to the tune of $1 million to assist the Midwest Innocence Project. MIP is a nonprofit helmed by Tricia Rojo Bushnell that works to exonerate people from wrongful convictions.
“It’s a huge investment,” Rojo Bushnell said, later adding in an interview: “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.”
The county’s egregious failure to properly prosecute cases is taking a toll on the individuals and their families. Take Lamonte McIntyre for example, he served 23 years in prison for a murder he did not commit. Olin Coones was a prisoner for 12 years on a wrongful murder conviction. By the time he was exonerated, he only lived 3.5 months before dying of undiagnosed cancer. These types of injustices cannot continue.
Last month, a group of philanthropists including Jay-Z filed suit against the Kansas City, Kansas Police Department demanding that all investigative reports be released to the public in addition to all officer personnel records and any misconduct violations.
Its attorneys said Kansas City, Kansas, officers have abused their authority, fabricated witness statements, planted evidence, concealed misconduct and solicited sexual favors from victims and witnesses. Among its examples are allegations against former detective Roger Golubski, who has been accused of using his badge to exploit and rape vulnerable Black women.
Jay’s group applied even more pressure to the situation last week when they ran a full-page ad in the Washington Post calling for the Department of Justice to investigate Kansas City’s police department.
Talk about “show you how to move in a room full of vultures”…