Jawara McIntosh, the youngest son of reggae legend Peter Tosh, lies comatose in a Boston hospital following an attack inside New Jersey’s Bergen County Jail, where he was serving a six-month sentence for cannabis-related charges.
According to a press release issued by his family on June 22, McIntosh, a reggae artist in his own right known professionally as Tosh 1, was brutally beaten and sustained traumatic brain injuries on Feb. 21, 2017 while in the care of the Bergen County Jail.
That same day, Jawara’s mother, Melody Cunningham, received a call from New Jersey’s Hackensack Medical Center informing her that Jawara needed immediate surgery to save his life, resulting from the ordeal.
The release did not specify what the circumstances were surrounding the beating or who was responsible.
Cunningham and Jawara’s nine siblings, including his sister Niambe McIntosh, administrator of the Peter Tosh Estate, will pursue a civil rights lawsuit against the Bergen County Jail “for directly participating in and/or failing to prevent Jawara from being beaten into a coma while in their custody.”
The McIntosh family is calling on the U.S. Justice Department to investigate; they have retained civil rights attorney Jasmine Rand who has represented the families of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown in their cases and local counsel Shelley Stangler, who has handled numerous civil rights suits.
According to previously published reports, on June 15, 2013 Jawara McIntosh’s rental car was pulled over by New Jersey police who allege that open bottles of alcohol were found on the front seat and that McIntosh was under the influence.
A search of McIntosh’s car found suitcases in the trunk filled with more than 65 pounds of marijuana. Police charged McIntosh with intent to distribute, two counts of driving under the influence, driving with a suspended license, improper passing and having an open container of alcohol in the vehicle.