Did you know that it’s part of a police officers job to take your kids for a hair cut? This is clearly new to me, but that’s what these officers are accused of doing.
Reggae artist Sean McDonald, known by his moniker Jahdore, has filed a complaint against law enforcement for cutting his two sons’ dreads and feeding them meat.
Now this may not seem like an issue to some, because in certain cultures cutting hair and eating meat is acceptable, but these kids are raised in a Rasta household.
For the one’s who are unfamiliar with the Rastafarian culture, Rastas follow a vegetarian diet. If a Rasta eats meat, it’s most likely fish, because some Rastas consider fish a starch.
Also, you don’t cut your hair. Hair is viewed as a spiritual essence within the Rasta culture. You lock your hair to be locked in with nature or to be one with nature. Cutting your hair is like cutting yourself off from nature, you’re no longer in sync with nature.
According to Jahdore, the police came to his home in regards to concerns about his kids not attending school. The police officers left with the kids in their vehicles (with dreads), but the kids were returned without dreads. This led to an altercation at the police station and Jahdore being charged with assault.
Can you imagine how outraged Jahdore and his wife were at that moment? I know I would be outraged if my kids left with hair and returned with no hair. To add salt to the open wound, these officers fed his kids meat. I don’t know how the rest of the world feels, but if I lived in a country with a prominent Rasta culture and was an officer taking in a couple kids with dreads, shouldn’t I take into consideration that maybe they don’t eat meat? Not only is this a violation of Jahdore and his families freedoms, but I also look at this situation as an abuse of power.
Chapter 3 (Fundamental Rights of Freedom) section 13B and 13c
of the Jamaica (Constitution) Order in Council of 1962 states
“(b.) Freedom of conscience, of expression and of peaceful assembly
and association; and
(c.) respect for his private and family life“.
The officers violated these rights of freedom. This was supposed to be a call in regards to figuring out why the kids weren’t attending school, not a call to strip the kids of their identity, which is a violation to their freedom of expression. Your hair is a huge part of who you are and how you express yourself, and NOBODY has the right to strip you of that freedom. Who’s going to suffer from the psychological effects? Who’s going to be traumatized by this? These poor kids are damaged psychologically because officers didn’t use proper judgment in this circumstance and have instead, violated the rights of this family. Not only is this a violation of Jahdore’s family’s rights of freedom, but now it’s escalated into an act of abuse of power.
This whole situation could have been handled in a more professional manner, without belittling Jahdore’s family. Is there a section outlined in the police manual that states that officers have the right to cut the kids’ hair? Is this proper protocol? The officers have abused their authority in how they handled this call and the whole Police assembly will have to take the heat because their fellow officers abused their power.
Law Enforcement has denied these allegations and allege that the boys Aunt was the one who cut their hair and fed them meat, but Jahdore and his wife have denied these allegations and stated that their sister had nothing to do with this.
At the end of the day, there are 3 sides to a story:
Law enforcement’s side, the Aunt’s side and the truth.
The question is, “Who is lying and who’s telling the truth?”
I’m not one to choose sides, but for the kids’ sake, whoever cut their hair, be the bigger person and write your wrongs. Regardless, the damage is done to these kids and all you can do is move forward from it, but holding back the truth is only causing more damage. Just because you disagree with someones views and lifestyle, doesn’t give you the right to force your views on someone, especially when you don’t have an understanding as to why they live their lifestyle.
I pray at this moment, that these kids receive the proper counseling and guidance needed to overcome this traumatic event, whether it be in a physical manner, or a spiritual manner. These kids did not deserve this, but this circumstance will only build them in the long run. I hope that whoever messed up in this situation, comes to terms with what they have done and attempts to justify it.
These types of topics are a lot bigger than we realize and doesn’t just effect one region involving the African Dispora. We need to come together as a people and start discussing these manners so that we can come up with solutions on how to properly handle them.