Popcaan fined for assaulting cop in Antigua

Popcaan fined for assaulting cop in Antigua

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

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Jamaican deejay Popcaan was fined EC$2,000 and released from custody yesterday following an incident on Monday night in the Caribbean territory of Antigua and Barbuda.

The artiste, whose real name is Andre Sutherland, was arrested and later slapped with four charges after an altercation with a member of the Royal Antigua and Barbuda Police Force during his performance at a rally put on by the ruling Antigua Labour Party at Fort James. He was charged with assault, battery, obstructing a police officer in the lawful execution of his duty, and resisting arrest.

When Popcaan appeared before Chief Magistrate Joanne Walsh in the Antigua Magistrate’s Court yesterday, he plead guilty to all the charges. The fine was connected to the assault and obstruction charges. Each carried a EC$1,000 tag or a six-month prison term. In the artiste’s case, the prison sentences would have run concurrently had the fines not been paid.

During Popcaan’s performance on Monday, an excited fan jumped onto the stage. The police officer in question was attempting to remove the patron from the stage when the incident occurred.

According to Senior Sergeant Frankie Thomas, head of the Office of Strategic Communications, which handles public relations for the police force in Antigua, the officer was simply doing his job.

"There was a clear security breach when the man jumped onto the stage. Every effort was being made to ensure that security was not compromised. He was taking clear steps to see to the safety and security of the artiste. But Sutherland, aka Popcaan, got between the officer and the fan, and at times was even physically barring the officer from carrying out his duty," he told the Jamaica Observer.

Meanwhile, Popcaan’s camp is brushing off the incident, noting that the artiste who was invited to perform was treated with nothing but respect. One member of the artiste’s team told the Observer that it was all a misunderstanding as he was just "defending one of his fans".

— Richard Johnson

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