Vybz Kartel calls out a group of police officers seen in the clip below roughing up an elderly man.
The excesses of the security forces worldwide continue to play out across our social media screens. Incarcerated legend Vybz Kartel has alerted us to the abuse of power by police on several songs before and has again used his platform to further the cause. The recent public murder of George Floyd and, more recently, Rayshard Brooks at the hands of police have highlighted a long-hidden global crisis. Sharing a clip on Instagram captioned “Watch dem big waste bwoy ya.”, the “Emergency” deejay turned the spotlight on officers seen thrashing and roughing up an older Rastafarian man as angry, concerned persons record the incident.
The Jamaican society’s relationship with law enforcement personnel is far from harmonious. From as early as the days that Bob Marley sang “I Shot The Sheriff,” communities have mistrusted the authorities who commonly use lethal violence or extrajudicial killings in their approach. Often seen as spiteful, hateful, and oppressive towards ordinary Jamaicans and ghetto people, in particular, police behavior is a topic touched on by several artists, from Bounty Killer to Chronixx.
The blame also extends to the Jamaica Defense Force (JDF), which is currently under investigation to determine the source of a bullet that killed disabled August Town resident, Susan Bogle, last month. Kartel’s post reflects the views felt by many citizens where there appears to be scant regard for people’s lives and liberties, even in the presence of cameras. Last week, there were protests in the Kingston environs over police killings, and by the weekend, two officers were dead, and others injured from a shootout in Spanish Town.
The video showing the malpractice of the three Jamaican officers is very telling of the systemic battles on home soil. As we look on at the American struggle, di Teacha reminds us that police reform is needed across the board, both locally and abroad, a sentiment echoed by the angst in the comments. The disgust with the use of force was clear from the responses that read, “Jah know dem ting yah make man get dark a swear,” as well as “can’t trust Babylon no day.”
Others saw a different side to the scene–that the elder was resisting attempts to detain him–and encouraged people to analyze the clip more clearly. “We can’t look on one side of the story….some men out there are very disrespectful, we need to start be respectful to who is there to protect US!!! What is hard in following police orders?….unnu stop leave negative comments n speak justice man….!!!”