Rapper, Jay-Z is seen following the conclusion of Game One of the 2022 NBA Finals at Chase Center between the Golden State Warriors and the Boston Celtics. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter has been fighting for criminal justice reform by way of the philanthropic and social justice arm of his entertainment company Roc Nation. “Team ROC” regularly funds legal assistance for individuals and families who have been victimized by law enforcement, and its latest focus is justice for Jermelle English Jr. of Wisconsin.
According to The Root, English was dining with his girlfriend and daughter at a local Applebee’s when Kenosha Police incorrectly identified him as the suspect in a hit-and-run accident. He was subsequently thrown to the ground with his daughter in his arms and repeatedly punched in the face; the young child sustained a head injury during the assault.
“The reckless arrest of Jermelle English Jr. and the careless endangerment of his infant child by the Kenosha Police Department is an absolute travesty … Team ROC team is here to support Jermelle and his family through this traumatic experience, demand justice, and hold the Kenosha police officers accountable,” said Team Roc managing director Diana Diaz in a statement.
Despite police identifying the actual suspect, who was hiding in the bathroom of the establishment, English was still arrested and charged with misdemeanor disorderly conduct in addition to resisting arrest. His girlfriend was also charged with possession of marijuana.
According to TMZ, “Team ROC” has enlisted the help of veteran attorney Alex Spiro in an effort to have all charges against the man and his family dropped. Jay-Z has also been on the front lines of decriminalizing hip-hop lyrics. The 53-year-old rapper and father of three has joined the likes of Meek Mill, Drake, Megan Thee Stallion, and over a dozen others in protesting the use of lyrics in criminal cases involving artists. In an open letter entitled Art on Trial: Protect Black Art the entertainers argue, “Rappers are storytellers, creating entire worlds populated with complex characters who can play both hero and villain. But more than any other art form, rap lyrics are essentially being used as confessions in an attempt to criminalize Black creativity and artistry.”
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Source: Black Enterprise