Several players in the entertainment industry have come out in support of Jamaican dancehall artiste Popcaan, who was convicted of assault charges in Antigua and Barbuda yesterday.
Popcaan, whose given name is Andre Sutherland, pleaded guilty to the charge of battery on police and obstructing a police officer. He was fined EC$1,000 (approximately J$45,409) on each count. If he fails to pay the fine, he faces six months’ imprisonment.
As news of Popcaan’s arrest spread, fellow entertainers and industry players came out in his defence.
“It happens to us artistes all the time,” Mr Vegas said.
“Oftentimes when an artiste is performing a fan may run on the stage. Sometimes we allow them to stay, sometimes we let the securities take them off. The artiste was just being nice to his fans,” he added.
Mr Vegas explained that while he understands that the police were just doing their jobs, he believes the authorities went overboard.
“It should never have reached the level where the artiste get locked up, that is overreacting.”
Well-known music producer, Markus Myrie said that police personnel too often abuse their power and authority.
“I respect Popcaan and anyone who stands up for themselves or someone else if they are being mistreated or abused excessively by lawmen or anyone at all for that matter,” Myrie said.
Popcaan’s woes began early Tuesday morning as he performed at the Antigua Trades and Labour Union rally in Fort James. At one stage, during his performance, a number of supporters climbed on to the stage and a police officer began removing them from the stage.
The Jamaican artiste intervened as a policeman grabbed a male patron who had made his way to the stage.
“Police, tek time wid him, police. Me done tell yuh nuh deal with dem so ruff,” said the self-styled Unruly Boss.
He then physically separated a patron from the police officer and then pushed away the outstretched hand of the policeman. The policeman reacted by strongly pushing Popcaan.
Keona Williams, a popular publicist, said she believed the artiste getting involved was the right thing to do.
“The artiste recognised that excessive force was being used and did the right thing by intervening. A fan can get carried away. However, it would be immoral to ignore the manner which he was dealt with,” Williams said.
“Popcaan did the right thing by putting attention to the situation and showing his disapproval of the unnecessary violent behaviour of the security personnel,” she said.