Trimming of 19-year-old's locks in police lock-up is 'state terrorism' - D'AguilarWednesday, August 04, 2021
KINGSTON, Jamaica— Convenor of People's Anti-Corruption Movement, Lloyd D'Aguilar, has labelled as “state sponsored terrorism”, the alleged trimming of the locks of a Rastafarian female by a policewoman at the Four Paths police station in Clarendon.
The woman, 19-year-old Nzinga King and her mother, Shirley McIntosh, spoke about the incident in a video recording which surfaced on Emancipation Day and has since gone viral. It details what they said happened to Nzinga as both women pleaded for justice from the authorities, including Prime Minister Andrew Holness. Nzinga has reportedly been left traumatised by the incident which is causing flashbacks from a previous traumatic incident she experienced three years ago.
The family has since retained the services of a prominent attorney, the alleged actions of the police have been widely criticised and several investigations have been launched into the incident.
D'Aguilar, an outspoken human rights advocate, has added his voice to the controversy.
“The police's cutting of Nzinga's locks is not purely about an attack on Rastafarians even though this has been done to them specifically as a group for decades; it is one of the methods of violence used by the State to intimidate the poor and oppressed,” D'Aguilar charged in a statement released on Wednesday.
D'Aguilar noted that Nzinga was allegedly pepper sprayed by the police while she was a passenger in a route taxi, reportedly while the cops were trying to apprehend a man. Upset at being pepper sprayed, Nzinga reportedly expressed herself in a particular way to the police, which they found offensive, while she was dealing with the discomfort of the pepper spray. She was arrested, placed in handcuffs and taken to the police station and was later fined $6,000 by a judge for disorderly conduct.
Unable to immediately pay the fine, Nzinga was placed in lock-up where she was reportedly forcibly trimmed of her locks.
D'Aguilar questioned whether she should have been fined $6,000 in the first place. He also noted that the policewoman who cut her locks while she was detained did not ask whether she was Rastafarian or not, in clear breach of her human rights.
According to D'Aguilar, rather than respecting people's rights, the police are “trained and paid to drive terror into the hearts of those under police control”. He has also brushed aside statements on the matter by Police Commissioner, Major General Antony Anderson and the Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM) which probes police misconduct.
“As usual, the response from certain 'authority' figures to this (incident) is another example of state sponsored police terrorism (and) only confirms the methods of impunity for state terrorism. The Police Commissioner has called for an investigation which he knows is going nowhere,” D'Aguilar asserted.
According to the human rights advocate, Anderson “does not have the moral authority to call for an investigation.” He has also argued that the commissioner has said nothing about the use of pepper spray against the passengers in the route taxi which he argued “triggered the rest of what happened”.
“There is not much to say about the Public Defender and INDECOM – they are both impotent state institutions. Nor is there anything of substance in the Opposition's response,” D'Aguilar stated.
He also had some advice for the attorney who has been retained in the matter, urging him to see the case not as a Rastafarian or religious matter but as “racism and state sponsored terrorism”.
Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at https://bit.ly/epaper-login