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Tommy Lee in lock-up

BY BRIAN BONITTO
Associate Editor ---
Auto & Entertainment
bonittob@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, July 08, 2020

DANCEHALL deejay Tommy Lee Sparta spent last night in the Freeport Police Station lock-up in Montego Bay, St James.

His attorney, Ernest Smith said the entertainer was detained under the current state of public emergency (SOE) in that parish.

“He has been detained. He has been taken into custody for the purpose of interviews with C-TOC [Counter Terrorism and Organised Crime Investigation Branch] and OCID [Organized Crime Investigations Division], and other agencies of the State...They have no charge against him; they want to question him. He has not been told anything of any offence he has committed. He has not been told that he is inciting anything. He is just told that he has influence over a gang by the name of Sparta Gang,” Smith told Jamaica Observer last night.

“My client is not part of any Sparta Gang or any gang for that matter,” he continued.

Under the SOE, persons can be held for 90 days without being charged.

Smith said he met with senior police officers and army men in MoBay, who have rescheduled the question-and-answer session for today.

“So I will make myself available starting from 11:00 am tomorrow [today] and to go on as long it takes for Tommy Lee to resume his normal life,” he said.

According to the Corporate Communications Unit, the Jamaica Constabulary Force's information arm, Tommy Lee Sparta was given till noon yesterday to report to the Freeport Police Station to answer questions about the upsurge in violence in the Flanker community of St James.

Smith said he questioned the police's strategy in asking his client to come to the “Second City”.

“What they have done is very wrong...Asking him to come from a safe place — where there's no state of emergency — to a place where's there a state of emergency, and to use the emergency powers in existence in St James to hold a man, who does not live in St James. He left St James 12 years ago,” the attorney-at-law told the Observer.

He said the Gothic dancehall entertainer was distraught about the development.

“He broke down in tears because he was very emotional that he has left Montego Bay for good and his name is being called. He has been concentrating on his career and what has bothered him the most, now that his career has started to lift again, he said [is] 'malicious persons want to drag him down'. It really broke his heart...I am confident, based on the instructions that he has given me, that he's not involved in any form of wrongdoing; he's not directing any operations of any Sparta or any other gang. Let us see what comes out of these interviews,” he said.

This is the third time in four years that the entertainer has been listed as a person of interest.

In 2016, detectives in the Kingston Eastern Division listed Tommy Lee Sparta as a person of interest in relation to a shooting incident on Saunders Avenue in the Kingston 2 section of the Corporate Area.

The following year, Freeport Police Station asked that he turn himself in for questioning in relation to a shooting in the Flanker community during the Christmas holiday.

In March this year, the deejay's six-year-old daughter was shot during an altercation among three men in Flanker. A nine-year-old boy was fatally shot in the incident.

Tommy Lee Sparta's given name is Leroy Russell. He hails from Flanker, the gritty St James community long plagued by crime and violence.

His popular songs include Spartan Soldier, Spartan Angel, Psycho and Rich Badness.



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