Changa-Changa is a very upset man – The leaf-wearing Rastaman says he harassed, abused and taken into police custody after he refused a body search by a policeman at Dead End Beach Road in Montego Bay on Friday (July 13).
The dub poet and farmer, who has been wearing clothes made from leaves and banana bark for more than 25 years, told McKoys News that he was returning from Sam Sharpe Square where he had gone to do an interview at an outside broadcast, and decided to pedal his bicycle onto Sunset Boulevard (Dead End Beach) to relax by the seaside, before heading home to Flanker.
“I come up the road and lean u my bicycle along with the light post underneath Sandals flowers along the wall. So me step u di sidewalk, so when me look ahead a mi a two police bredrin mi see a come down. So mi step offa di corridor and step down on di road and a trod, so when mi a pass one a dem (a District Constable) hail mi up “Changa-Changa, wha a gwaan” and mi stop and mi bless him up,” Changa said.
“So di next one (Constable) come ova same time and a ask I say what I have pon I illegal. So I say ‘I no have nothing illegal pon I, mi General; I no trod dem way deh’. So anyway, him say him want a search. Mi a say ‘Search’? Dis soun a way because you know how much years mi a yad dem way yah, and police neva tell mi say dem want search Rasta?” he explained.
“Di red seam one come ova now and say him want a search. Mi look cross di next one and him a say: “yo no hear weh di man say: him want a search!”
Changa-Changa said he told the policeman he was not in possession of any contraband. He said his bag was subsequently searched by the policemen, and as he was about to take his leave, the policeman demanded a “strip search”.
“So me say mi no need no man fi strip me, mi can strip myself. So me take off mi vest so me naked (bare-chested) like dat inna di middle road…a show him say mi no have nothing pon mi fi search,” he said.
He said after doing that he was grabbed by the policemen who demanded that he fulfill their body-search wishes. He said a tussle ensued, and a few moments later a police SUV drove up. During that time he said onlookers started to video the incident, some of whom urged him to comply.
“But mi no want no man unda mi a come dig up. I a no pimp; I neva sell a tourist bwoy a ganja spliff from mi know myself as Rasta, you know. A Walters Bar and Grill I used to work as a bartender, and from mi leave and say Rastafari and go inna di bush and start wear leaf clothes, mi no hustle after white people. So maybe him feel say mi a sell (weed).
Changa said he was carted off to the Barnet Street Police Station after being handcuffed and told he was being cited for resisting arrest and indecent language.
He said he was told that he would not be allowed to wear his leaf clothes into the cell block at the station and would have to borrow clothes to wear.
“So mi say, ‘den police wha yo involve wid mi fah? Because if mi can’t wear di go inna di cell block, weh yuh involve wid mi fah? Den come a tell mi say when a mi court date I can’t wear dem, eeda mi wrap up inna sheet come dung. You know how much years mi a wear dem clothes yah, mi neva inna problem wid police?”
He said he was not taken to a cell block but to a guard room.
“Him just write up paper and give me paper fi go sign. Nobody no take no statement fran I or anything. Just him just write him own ting, like him hide I away from everybody,” he said.
But Changa-Chang says on the court date he will be dressed up in his leaves.”
“Dem can’t mek I ova. A more dan 25 year now mi a live dis yah way yah. Mi no wear cloth fi how much years. Dem can’t tell mi nuttn,” he said.
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