It’s been a moment since we’ve heard any news about Jay-Z, but the rapper has recently reentered the headlines for reasons that have nothing to do with music. Jay-Z’s entertainment agency Roc Nation has a division called Team Roc that focuses on philanthropy and social justice, and according to Billboard, Team Roc has now dispatched lawyers to come to the aid of Jermelle English Jr., a Zion, Illinois, man who was wrongly arrested by police.
The case captured the attention of local and national news outlets after cell phone footage of English’s arrest went viral. On July 20, police in Kenosha, Wisconsin, were on the trail of some suspects in a recent hit-and-run. The suspects had been described as two Black males and a woman carrying a baby, and they tracked them to a local Applebee’s. An employee pointed out English, who was sitting at a table with a woman and his 1-year-old child.
Officers approached English and asked him about the incident. He denied involvement and tried to walk away. Cell phone video from bystanders posted on WISN and other outlets shows the officers then tackling English and prying the crying child from his arms. One officer appears to punch English after he is prone.
Police later found the culprits responsible for the crash in the bathroom of the Applebee’s. Regardless, English was charged with disorderly conduct, resisting and obstructing an officer. The case adds to an already volatile situation in Kenosha, the town where 29-year-old Jacob Blake was shot by a white police officer in 2020.
Team Roc has dispatched high-profile lawyer Alex Spiro to defend English. According to an announcement from Team Roc, Spiro will move to have all charges against his client dismissed and is also considering civil suits. Spiro has in the past represented Elon Musk, Alec Baldwin (following the shooting incident on the set of “Rust” in 2021), Megan Thee Stallion, and Jay-Z himself.
“The reckless arrest of Jermelle English Jr. and the careless endangerment of his infant child by the Kenosha Police Department is an absolute travesty,” Dania Diaz, managing director of Team Roc, said in a statement released to TMZ and other media outlets. “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.”