Rapper Jay-Z is urging New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to reshape New York state’s current justice system in the wake of nationwide protests of unarmed blacks being killed by white police officers who aren’t held criminally responsible. Jay-Z along with hip-hop pioneer Russell Simmons spoke with Cuomo about reforms, while rapper Common joined Simmons at a City Hall news conference later on in the day along with activists to demand a list of amendments involving prosecuting and policing, the Associated Press reports.
Weeks after two grand juries opted not to indict police officers in the tragic shooting of unarmed Ferguson, Missouri teen Michael Brown and the Staten Island chokehold death of Eric Garner, many have questioned if local prosecutors are adapt to handle the investigations of the police, who they also work closely with on cases. According to Simmons:
We want to promote the end of police protecting police and not prosecuting police.
Simmons also revealed to the crowd Cuomo vowed to have special prosecutors to handle cases of suspected police brutality instead of local district attorneys.
Jay-Z has been instrumental in the protests and continuing to shine a spotlight regarding the issue. The rap mogul assisted in the dispensing of the shirts which say, “I Can’t Breath,” the last words Garner uttered to police officers as he was placed in the lethal chokehold that would end his life. Once Chicago Bulls player Derrick Rose wore his own shirt, organizers at Justice League NYC approached Jay-Z about the shirts. According to The New York Times, Jay-Z helped NBA players, Kevin Garnett and LeBron James obtain them for their Brooklyn Nets and Cleveland Cavaliers game earlier this week, which was attended by Prince William and his wife, Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton, along with Jay-Z and wife Beyoncé. The next day, other players in the NBA started to wear the shirts to assist with keeping the issue in the forefront.