On June 21, 2017, attorney Jasmine Rand announced that her client, Jawara McIntosh, son of iconic reggae artist Peter Tosh, was beaten into a coma on Feb. 21, 2017, at New Jersey’s Bergen County Jail while serving six months for cannabis-related charges. Rand is pursuing a civil rights lawsuit against Bergen County Jail on behalf of Melody Cunningham, McIntosh’s mother, and his nine siblings, including Niambe McIntosh, administrator of Peter Tosh’s estate.
“Many states and nations have begun the process of the legalization of cannabis in recognition of its medicinal, spiritual, industrial and recreational value; but far too many people continue to be stripped of their freedom for cannabis related charges resulting in mass incarceration, police brutality, and murder,” Rand stated in a press release. “Criminalizing cannabis legalizes the deprivation of human rights.”
“Our family will fight harder now than ever to Legalize It. We know that our father is here with us today strengthening our voices to fight for his son Jawara, and for our brothers and sisters throughout the world in jail, brutalized, or murdered over an herb that has the power to heal nations,” Niambe McIntosh said.
“Bergen County Jail has not given the family any details surrounding the circumstances of the beating,” Rand said in a statement to Marijuana Industry News.
Rand, a nationally known attorney who has represented the families of Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin, will be joined by Shelley Stangler, a local attorney who has worked on several important civil rights cases.
Rev. Al Sharpton and Ndaba Mandela, Nelson Mandela’s grandson, have come out in support of Jawara McIntosh and his family.
“Like my grandfather Nelson Mandela, Peter Tosh was a real revolutionary. Peter adamantly opposed the apartheid regime performing at antiapartheid concerts at a time when my grandfather was imprisoned for fighting for equal rights of Black South Africans. Now, his son Jawara remains in a coma after being brutally beaten while in custody on marijuana charges. We cannot be silent in the face of such inhumanity,” Mandela said.
Jawara McIntosh’s family has launched a #JusticeForJawara petition. If the petition receives 500 signatures, the petition will be sent to the United States Department of Justice and will request that the DOJ run an independent investigation into Bergen County Jail’s inability to prevent the brutal beating of Jawara McIntosh.
You can visit the Justice for Jawara page here and watch the #JusticeforJawara petition video below.