Reggae artiste blasts US police
Overseas-based reggae artiste ORieL and a member of his band were recently detained by the police on suspicion of marijuana possession while making an appearance at Kaya Fest in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. According to the artiste, the police abused their power.
The artiste, who made his debut at Reggae Sumfest in 2015, told THE STAR that he was gearing up to make his entrance to the main stage, when the arresting officer claimed he smelled marijuana and called for other officers to intervene. The artiste also believes he and his team were treated aggressive by the police.
"We were briefly detained for smoking a spliff in the tour van. I asked the officer why he was drawing his firearm, because we were doing as he asked; our hands were up and the spliff was put out. Why use a cannon to kill a mosquito? Why not work out an amicable solution? His rather negative approach is the reason that causes many situations like this to end up with people getting injured for no reason," the seemingly upset artiste said.
He highlighted the relationship between Rastafarians, marijuana and music, and stating that the police should not abuse their power.
"Music and herb go together, society knows this. The idea that cannabis makes you hostile, etcetera, is an outdated concept in this modern society. Many a prison and policing budget depend on keeping the status quo. That's one thing, but the bigger issue is the approach and how police deal with us on a day-to-day basis," he continued. "I support officers who are maintaining and providing protection to the people, not bullies with badges and guns. The motto of the police force is to protect and serve, and we need more officers who aim to uphold their pledge to society and not the ones intending to stroke their own egos by misusing and abusing their power ... . Musicians, painters, nurses, patients, all sort of people perform the age-old tradition of burning a spliff, and that is never going to stop."
Despite the inconvenience, ORieL still managed to return to the festival and delivered a strong set. He has also released a song and video titled Babylon System, which speaks on injustice based on his experience.