Philanthropic group Team ROC recently announced that they’ve hired an attorney to represent a man falsely accused by the Kenosha police department.
Announced on Thursday, the nonprofit, led by Jay-Z, will have attorney Alex Spiro defend Jermelle English Jr., a young Black father who was arrested at an Applebees and falsely charged by Kenosha police for a hit-and-run incident.
Per AP News, on July 20, witnesses told the Kenosha police department that two men and a woman carrying a child were involved in a hit-and-run and were headed to an Applebee’s while fleeing. Caught on cell phone footage, the police approached English while he was inside the restaurant and accused him of being one of the suspects involved in the incident.
In the video footage, English can be seen maintaining his innocence and denying his involvement in the hit-and-run. Although he had said he had not been part of the crime, the police continued to arrest English, using excessive force; as he carried his one-year-old child in his arms, the police attacked English, pinning him to the floor and punching him.
Although the people who were part of the crash were found in the Applebee’s bathroom and the Kenosha police department found that English was not part of the hit-and-run, the officers continued to charge him with disorderly conduct as well as resisting and obstructing an officer, the department charged the woman with him with the same charges, including possession of marijuana.
In a press conference held two weeks ago, the family revealed that English’s child was also pepper sprayed in the assault.
According to their statement, Spiro and Team Roc will be representing the English family to get the charges dropped.
“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’s managing director, Dania Diaz, per a public release. “The Team ROC team is here to support Jermelle and his family through this traumatic experience, demand justice and hold the Kenosha police officers accountable.”
Previously, Team ROC has addressed the rampant police brutality in the U.S. by amplifying calls for the Department of Justice to investigate the Kansas City police department. Submitted in partnership with the nonprofit Midwest Innocence Project, Team Roc submitted an open letter in 2022 calling for a review of police misconduct by the department.
Previously, the nonprofit sued the department for more documents that supported a probe into the branch for their misconduct.
In September of that same year, the Department of Justice announced the arrest of 69-year-old Roger Golubski, a former Kansas police officer who sexually assaulted two women, following the probe that resulted from Team Roc’s lawsuit.