HACKENSACK, N.J. (UPDATE) -- Bergen County Sheriff Michael Saudino said Friday that his office charged a Queens man awaiting trial in a home invasion gone awry with a brutal jailhouse beating that left the son of the late reggae star Peter Tosh in a coma.
The family of legendary reggae artist Peter Tosh's son wants the U.S. Justice Department to investigate a brutal beating by a fellow inmate at the Bergen County Jail while serving a six-month sentence for having 65½ pounds of pot in his car during a Mahwah traffic stop.
Jawara McIntosh, 37, "was beaten into a coma, sustaining severe traumatic brain injuries" on Feb. 21, after he took a guilty plea to marijuana possession, wrote his sister, Niambe McIntosh.
His mother, Melody Cunningham, received a call from Hackensack University Medical Center "informing her that Jawara needed a life-saving surgical procedure after being savagely attacked" at the jail by another inmate, she wrote in a change.org petition .
Cunningham, Jawara's nine siblings and other family members are petitioning the Justice Department to investigate the circumstances of the attack.
"To allow this to happen to any human being is criminal," Niambe McIntosh wrote. "This is the first step of a movement to bring justice for Jawara."
A father of four who has gone by the performing name “Tosh 1,” Peter Tosh's youngest son took up the campaign to legalize marijuana from his world-renowned father, who was killed during a 1987 home invasion in his native Jamaica.
He has referred to himself as the “last hope for his legacy.”
Grammy winner Peter Tosh (Winston Hubert McIntosh) was a member of Bob Marley’s Wailers, arguably the most accomplished reggae band in musical history. Although an international recording star, Tosh didn’t achieve fame in the U.S. until his 1978 duet with Mick Jagger on the Temptations song “Don’t Look Back.”
He fought publicly against apartheid and for the legalization of marijuana for much of his career.
"Within the Rastafari faith, cannabis is a sacred herb," Niambe McIntosh wrote, "and across the globe it is known for its medicinal properties and values.
McIntosh didn’t have a license — and had open bottles of alcohol on the front seat — when officers stopped his rental car for recklessly cutting off other motorists on Route 17 on Father Day's weekend 2013.
He and his wife, Carlotta Z. Leslie, “denied any knowledge that the marijuana was in the vehicle,” police said at the time.
The officer who pulled over the 2013 Nissan Maxima said McIntosh appeared under the influence of some type of drug. McIntosh and Leslie also gave conflicting accounts, he said ats the time.
The vehicle was searched, with McIntosh’s consent, after other officers arrived: They found two large pieces of luggage in the trunk that reeked of pot, Mahwah Police Chief James Batelli said.S
McIntosh's trial was postponed several times, with him released on bail, before he took a guilty plea. He began a six-month sentence on July 1.
He has since officially been released from custody, records show.