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Jamaica's tough hip-hop cop makes debut

Commander accused of deadly tactics releases a law-and-order rap
/ Source: The Associated Press

A police commander who led a commando-style, anti-crime team that human rights groups accuse of multiple killings is hitting the airwaves with a rap-style song that pledges to restore law and order in Jamaica.

Senior Superintendent Reneto Adams’ song was released after a jury last week acquitted him and two other policemen on charges of murdering two men and two women and planting guns on their bodies. The song quickly stirred an outcry from rights groups.

The 57-year-old Adams, who often wears aviator-style sunglasses and black combat gear, has led raids resulting in at least 40 killings, according to local rights group Families Against State Terrorism.

Carolyn Gomes, executive director of Jamaicans For Justice, called the song “irresponsible, frightening and distasteful.”

In the song, called “To Protect and Serve,” Adams threatens criminals, who have given Jamaica one of the world’s highest murder rates, saying: “They will feel the full extent of the law.”

“People of Jamaica, listen to this: The law is here to serve and protect, and no one is above the law,” he sings.

He also lashes out at human rights groups, singing: “These criminal rights organizations are trying to stop me from doing my job while hoodlums continue to destroy the only livelihood we have.”

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Jamaica, an island nation of 2.6 million people, reported a record 1,145 homicides for 2004, compared with 975 the year before. Police blame much of the violence on street gangs vying for control of lucrative drug and extortion rings.

Jamaica also has one of the world’s highest rates of killings by police, but few officers have been charged with crimes, according to Amnesty International, a London-based rights group.

In an interview published Wednesday in a local newspaper, Adams said he relishes confrontations with members of criminal gangs, who rule the slums surrounding Kingston.

“We have communities in Jamaica where, as you enter as a policeman, you are fired upon without any notice,” Adams told the Jamaica Gleaner. “So I find it a joy to go and look for the hardened criminal — men who fire M-16 rifles and AK-47s.”

“The return action would be decisive and probably final, in some instances,” he added.

Police Commissioner Lucius Thomas declined to comment on Adam’s song, said police spokesman Karl Angell.

Adams and two other officers were acquitted on Dec. 20 of killing the four people during a May 2003 raid in Kraal, a village about 40 miles west of Kingston. Three other officers were acquitted earlier.

“It was the mother of all trials and the mother of all acquittals,” Adams told cheering supporters following the verdict.

After the Kraal raid, authorities disbanded Adams’ Crime Management Unit and assigned the officers charged in the deaths to administrative posts. Thomas has said they won’t resume active duty until they undergo psychological evaluations.