By ANGIE RICONO
KANSAS CITY, KS (KCTV) — The Midwest Innocence Project has been granted $1 million dollars to investigate wrongful convictions.
“This funding is transformational and will allow us to dedicate staff to working cases in Wyandotte County full-time,” said executive director Tricia Rojo Bushnell.
The Midwest Innocence Project is based in Kansas City and has helped free numerous prisoners who were wrongfully convicted, including Lamonte McIntyre.
McIntyre’s case exposed allegations of police misconduct, corruption, and abuse inside the KCK Police Department.
The current operating budget for the Midwest Innocence Project is less than a million dollars.
“We are thankful, not just for the resource, but for Team Roc’s commitment to making change to helping end the corruption, abuse and injustice in Wyandotte County. The misconduct and sexual abuses committed by Detective Golubski and other law enforcement has been known for decades, yet no one with power has acted. Team Roc is acting,” said Bushnell.
Detective Golubski is retired. He worked for more than 30 years inside the KCK police department. Golubski has been the focus of more than a dozen KCTV5 investigative reports, but he has refused to answer our questions.
The donation does not come directly from Team Roc, but through its fundraising efforts.
“Not only are they acting, they are demanding others act, too, and are ensuring the people of Wyandotte County get the resources needed to enact actual justice and accountability. For that, we are incredibly grateful,” Rojo Bushnell said.
Community reaction has been immediate.
“It means everything. It means answered prayers. It means someone actually cares. I’m ashamed that someone that doesn’t live here in Kansas City cares more about this issue than our local judicial system,” said Tamekia Danielle Donnell.
Mann swears he’s innocent in a KCK murder dating back to 2000. His conviction was based largely on eyewitness testimony.
That eyewitness was a rival from the streets. He eventually sent Mann a notarized statement apologizing and explaining he was forced by detectives to lie in court.
Ahmon Mann is just one prisoner hoping Team Roc can shine a light on allegations of police corruption that have sent innocent men to prison and left killers on the street.
Team Roc’s Push for Justice
Team Roc is currently suing for public records.
Last week, they took out a full-page ad in the Washington Post demanding the attention of Associate Attorney General Gupta.
“The police and eyewitness reports of criminal behavior perpetrated by members of the Kansas City, Kansas police department, over the past several decades, are staggering. They detail graphic accounts of rape, murder, sex trafficking, and corruption are so rampant and so blatant, it would be shocking if even a single allegation were true.”
The Midwest Innocence Project reports having a backer like Jay-Z has energized people who previously had little hope.
“We have received a lot of positive feedback from individuals whose experiences are being vindicated, who feel like they are finally now being heard. Team Roc has not only listened to those who have been victimized by this system, they believe them and are working to make sure the injustice stops now,” Rojo Bushnell said.
To learn more about the Midwest Innocence Project, click here.
Donnell is best friends with Ahmon Mann, who was a recent focus of a KCTV5 investigation.
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