KANSAS CITY, Kan. — An organization run by rapper Jay-Z has facilitated donations totaling $1 million for the local innocence project to investigate wrongful convictions in Wyandotte County.
The money was raised by Team Roc, which is the criminal justice division of Jay-Z's entertainment organization, Roc Nation, the Kansas City Star reported.
Tricia Rojo Bushnell, executive director of the Midwest Innocence Project, called it "a huge investment," adding that the ability to look at these cases is going to shine a light on what the group needs to do to provide a just criminal legal system in Wyandotte County.
Among those injustices is the wrongful conviction of Lamonte McIntyre, who spent 23 years in prison for two murders he did not commit in Kansas City, Kansas. Another is the case of Olin "Pete" Coones Jr., who spent 12 years in prison before he was exonerated of a Wyandotte County murder — only to die from cancer that went undiagnosed 108 days after he was freed.
About 40 others have asked the innocence project to investigate their convictions in Wyandotte County, Rojo Bushnell said Monday.
In September, Team Roc filed a petition seeking records from the Kansas City, Kansas, police department related to what it calls a history of officer misconduct within the department.