Reggae artist Sean McDonald, aka JaDore, claims that police personnel forcibly removed his two home schooled Rastafarian children, aged four and eight, from their home, trimmed their locks and fed them meat. Commissioner of Police Major General Antony Anderson and Deputy Superintendent Dahlia Garrick, who heads the police Corporate Communications Unit (CCU), has instructed the professional standards unit, Inspectorate of the Constabulary (IOC), to probe the allegations.
JaDore said the incident happened on April 30 when police personnel showed up at his home in Irish Town, St Andrew. He said he received a call from his wife that police were at their home. When he arrived at his house, 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.
The police then put the children inside a police service vehicle and drove off. JaDore, 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 where they were greeted with hostility. The reggae artist recalls the event:
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’.
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 asked about his children and were told that the police had brought them to get haircuts. He said:
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 later found out that his children were also given chicken to eat which is a violation of the Rastafarian Ital vegetarian diet. McDonald has since then filed a report with the Independent Commission of Investigations.
JaDore’s 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.