UPDATED: Cops accused of trimming Rasta kids - Reggae artiste cries foul, claims officers also fed his children meat
In an alleged case of abuse of power and violation of human rights, conscious reggae artiste JahDore, whose real name is Sean McDonald, said members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) forcibly took his Rastafarian children from their home, trimmed their locks and fed them meat.
McDonald, a Rastafarian, also said that he sustained injuries to his left eye and right jaw after rebuking the police for the mistreatment of his wife when they went to the police station, where their children – aged four and eight years – were taken.
The artiste told The Gleaner that on April 30, he received a call from his wife that police were at their Irish Town home in St Andrew.
On his arrival, he encountered a district constable.
“Him say him come because him want find out why me have some kids here not going to school. So I said to him, ‘If you come to find out something, this is the way you approach it? Why you in the yard? Why you don’t do it on a more professional basis?’ By the time mi fi say that and go into the yard now, the other police in deh shout out, ‘Stop you noise and come for the pickney dem’,” McDonald said in an interview with The Gleaner yesterday.
McDonald said his children are homeschooled.
There is currently no law on the books prohibiting the practice.
He said the police then took his children, placed them inside a police service vehicle and drove off.
In an attempt to retrieve his children, McDonald said he, his wife and their seven-month-old child got into their vehicle and went in pursuit, eventually stopping at the Gordon Town Police Station in St Andrew.
TUG OF WAR
The artiste said he and his wife with baby in hand proceeded to the guardroom at the police station, where they were greeted with hostility.
“Him say to mi spouse say, ‘How you have di pickney dem a yuh yard and nah send dem go a school? Come ‘round yah so’. So me look pon him and say, ‘No. You can’t talk to har like that. You not even introduce yourself and say who you be, you come a talk ’bout come ‘round yah so’.
“By the time mi fi say that, him say to me, ‘A who you? A who you? Come out a mi station’,” the reggae artiste said.
According to McDonald, a tug of war ensued with him, the policeman and his spouse.
McDonald, who was at this point holding the infant, said the cop hit him in the face before brandishing his firearm and pointing it at him.
When the altercation ended, McDonald said he and his spouse were placed in separate rooms, after which he was charged with assaulting a police officer.
McDonald said matters got worse when he made enquiries about his children and found out that the police had brought them to get haircuts.
“Dem send the pickney dem gone trim off the pickney dem locks and can’t tell me who or what or how it go! ... When mi come back, mi see the two little yute dem head bald, bald,” he said.
The artiste told The Gleaner that he later found out that his children were also given chicken to eat and instructed by police to remain mum about it. Orthodox Rastafarians are vegetarians.
McDonald has since then filed a report with the Independent Commission of Investigations.
His attorney, Shantez Stewart, said, “The abhorrence displayed by the officers is an affront to justice. Human rights are not a privilege conferred by the Government. They are every human being’s entitlement by virtue of his humanity.”
When The Gleaner made contact with the Gordon Town police yesterday, the officer could not provide details on the incident.
McDonald is scheduled to appear in court later this month to answer to the assault charge.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: The headline of a previous version of this article should have been attributed to Sean McDonald. The artiste, while making the allegation, did not provide proof that the police themselves coordinated the act of having this children's hair cut.)