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Family: Peter Tosh's son left in coma following jail beating

Associated Press logo Associated Press 6/22/2017 By JOSH CORNFIELD, Associated Press
FILE - In this Sunday, April 20, 2014, file photo, Jawara McIntosh, son of legendary Reggae icon and a pro-marijuana activist, Peter Tosh, sings a song as he stands with a large gathering in front of the New Jersey Statehouse in Trenton, N.J. McIntosh was hospitalized since suffering traumatic brain injuries in the attack in February 2017 at the Bergen County jail, where he was serving a six-month sentence after pleading guilty to marijuana possession, his family said. (AP Photo/Mel Evans, File) © The Associated Press FILE - In this Sunday, April 20, 2014, file photo, Jawara McIntosh, son of legendary Reggae icon and a pro-marijuana activist, Peter Tosh, sings a song as he stands with a large gathering in front of the New Jersey Statehouse in Trenton, N.J. McIntosh was hospitalized since suffering traumatic brain injuries in the attack in February 2017 at the Bergen County jail, where he was serving a six-month sentence after pleading guilty to marijuana possession, his family said. (AP Photo/Mel Evans, File)

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — The family of the late reggae icon Peter Tosh is seeking answers after they say his son was left in a coma following an attack in a New Jersey jail.

Jawara McIntosh has been hospitalized since suffering traumatic brain injuries in the attack in February at the Bergen County jail, where he was serving a six-month sentence after pleading guilty to marijuana possession, his family said.

McIntosh, of Boston, performed under the stage name Tosh1. His father was a Jamaican born musician and activist who started the Wailers along with Bob Marley.

Attorney Jasmine Rand said Thursday the family has filed a notice that it plans to sue the county and also wants the U.S. Justice Department to investigate.

"My heart cries not knowing what happened to my son," said his mother, Melody Cunningham. "Not being able to talk to him because of the condition that he's in. (I'm) trying to be strong for him, I have to be strong for him."

His sister, Niambe, said that they haven't been given any solid information about what happened to him. Rand said the county hasn't been forthcoming about providing evidence about what happened.

A spokesman for the Bergen County sheriff's office said he was not immediately able to comment.

McIntosh was arrested in New Jersey in June 2013 after police said they found more than 65 pounds of marijuana in the trunk of his car.

His family says that he is a Rastafarian like his father and was fighting for marijuana legalization. Tosh was killed in Jamaica in 1987 during a home invasion robbery.

"A lot of his music is inspired by the Rastafarian culture, by getting the truth out there. My father was a human rights activist and all of his music was about uplifting and educating people about some of the conditions out there," Niambe McIntosh said. "But also my father was an activist for the legalization of cannabis. That's also another avenue that my brother Jawara kind of walked into and upheld. He was also an advocate for legalization of cannabis."

McIntosh has four children, including an 11-year-old daughter who performed a song she wrote for him at his hospital bedside, Niambe McIntosh said.

"When you're faced with such a travesty you have to find strength and hope," she said.

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Contact Cornfield at https://www.twitter.com/JoshCornfield

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