HACKENSACK — The family of the late reggae icon Peter Tosh wants the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate after they claim his son was beaten into a coma while he was being held in the Bergen County Jail.
In 2013, Jawara McIntosh, now 37, was arrested after police found more than 65 pounds of marijuana hidden in the trunk of a rented car he was driving.
He began serving a six-month sentence in January after pleading guilty to marijuana possession, family attorney Jasmine Rand said.
In February, McIntosh’s mother received a call from Hackensack University Medical Center that her son needed a life-saving procedure after being attacked in the jail.
McIntosh, now at a hospital in Boston, where he’s from, has brain damage, is unresponsive and in a coma, Rand said.
“The way in which he was beaten appears to be a form of cruel and unusual punishment that he suffered while he was incarcerated. We want more information and physical evidence,” Rand said.
Rand said they haven’t received any audio or video evidence of what happened beyond a basic incident report that stated another inmate was involved.
“We want Bergen County to provide additional evidence about how he was beaten so brutally and so violently,” she said.
A spokesman for the Bergen County Sheriff’s Office didn’t immediately return messages seeking comment.
Rand said the family has filed a notice of intent to sue and wants the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate.
The family has also started a change.org petition asking the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate.
McIntosh’s father, Tosh, was a world-renown Reggae artist and a founding member of The Wailers, along with Bob Marley and Bunny Wailer. One of his most popular songs, “Legalize It,” is about legalizing marijuana. Tosh was killed by gunmen in his Kingston, Jamaica home in 1987.
Similar to his father, McIntosh is a Rastafarian. He is a father to four.