Why Was Buju Banton Thrown Into Maximum Security For Giving Food To Fellow Inmate!?!?

pinellasEarly Monday morning, the legal team representing Jamaican music icon, Buju Banton, was forced to file an emergency motion with the US District Court (Middle District) in Tampa, Florida on behalf of their client. Last Thursday, Banton (aka Mark Myrie), who has been incarcerated at Pinellas County Jail (PCJ) in nearby Clearwater since early January, was placed in maximum security for 30 days for giving away his food to a fellow inmate. After several futile attempts to negotiate directly with the jail (and the prosecutor, Assistant US Attorney, James Preston) to have Buju moved back to general population, Team Banton felt compelled to file the Emergency Motion for Bond or for Alternative Relief.

Lead defense attorney, David Oscar Markus, believes this excessive punishment is simply the latest in a long line of subtle yet exacting harassment endured by the Reggae star since his transfer to PCJ. Immediately upon his arrival at the jail, Banton, a devout Rasta who follows a strict ital diet, filled out the required paperwork to apply for vegetarian meals, but all of his requests were ignored. In addition to his visible weight loss, Banton has been inexplicably moved from floor to floor of the jail — 5 times at last count. And his cell is customarily tossed by guards (read: searched at random), among other things.

According to reports from former inmates who were interviewed for a PCJ resource site about (but unaffiliated with) the jail, South Division or “max,” is for non-sentenced (usually dangerous) felons. However, Central Division, the minimum security area where Banton was previously housed, at least has a “microwave and hot water” and is “very clean and neat compared to max.”

And here’s a Typical Meal Schedule & Sample Menu at Pinellas County Jail:

Breakfast – 3:00am
Lunch – 10:00am
Dinner – 4:00pm

Shank & Cereal
Meat & Gravy
Macaroni & Ham Bits

Inmates may order from the commissary twice a week.

Below is an excerpt of the motion filed by Mr. Markus:


Because Mr. Myrie had the audacity to share his food with a hungry inmate, he was sent out of general population and into the maximum security wing of the prison. When Mr. Myrie told the officer that he did not believe that he was doing anything wrong, he was told that he could contest her finding, but if he lost, he would be sent to the hole. Knowing how that would turn out, Mr. Myrie waived his opportunity to contest the hearing and was sent to maximum security for the next 30 days — the most critical 30 days of Mr. Myrie’s life as he prepares for trial.

Since being incarcerated in December 2009, Mr. Myrie has lost about 40 pounds and has not been provided with a diet in accordance with his religious views. Although he has been able to make appropriate meals in the kitchen with food he purchased from the commissary, he does not have the ability in his new maximum security wing. In addition, the living areas and kitchen are unsanitary, and the showers do not work. Because he is being treated inhumanely, we have no choice but to file this motion for bond.

The decision to then place Mr. Myrie in a maximum security wing weeks before his upcoming trial suggest that something else is going on. Counsel for Mr. Myrie was advised that he would remain in maximum security for at least 30 days, and that there was “nothing we can do about it.” In sum, Mr. Myrie is now in a maximum security wing for caring enough to offer food to another inmate who was hungry, and genuinely believing there was nothing wrong in doing so.

Transferring Mr. Myrie to maximum security is not only affecting him (Mr. Myrie’s mental and physical health has been rapidly deteriorating) but it is affecting undersigned’s counsel’s ability to prepare for trial. For example, this week when counsel attempted to visit Mr. Myrie, counsel was required to wait over two hours until he could see Mr. Myrie.

Many of the people that we spoke to at the facility tried to help us and agreed that this “violation” was extremely minor. We were told, however, that once the decision was made, it was not going to be overturned.

Team Banton was granted the emergency hearing and will appear in Tampa Federal Court on Friday, March 26th at 10am before Magistrate Judge Anthony E. Porcelli.

In the meantime… Bujumania!

Banton Fights The Power! Photo: Jonathan Mannion

Listeners request and selectors continue to play as much Buju Banton music as possible, especially the uplifting new single “Optimistic Soul,” which officially dropped online, March 23rd. Multimedia programmers should add the accompanying music video into rotation on local, national and international TV outlets and web sites. Plan a special Buju Banton Tribute program for the weekend of April 16th-18th (just before the trial start date of Monday, April 19th).

Swap your Facebook/Twitter profile pic to the official Free Buju! logo or your favorite photo of Buju Banton. Bombard the web with inspirational Buju Banton lyrics, quotes, interviews, videos and other memorabilia. Stay optimistic.

Continue writing letters of encouragement to Buju Banton:

Mark Anthony Myrie – Docket # 1387202


Pinellas County Jail

14400 49th Street North

Clearwater, Florida 33762-2877

Please note *new housing info, which must be included in address to ensure delivery.

The Gargamel Music Family will begin our collective fast on April 1st. Join us in solidarity!

Official Free Buju! T-Shirts
We Support Buju Banton
Tampa Bay Supports Buju Banton
Buju Banton ♫It’s Not An Easy Road♫ Supporting Him In His Struggles
We Demand A Fair Trial For Buju Banton
Buju Banton On Facebook
Buju Banton On MySpace
Buju Banton On YouTube



Filed under Buju Banton General, United States vs Buju Banton

16 responses to “Why Was Buju Banton Thrown Into Maximum Security For Giving Food To Fellow Inmate!?!?

  1. Pingback: Buju trial date delayed yet again! :: CaribbeanCelebs.com

  2. roy

    Again, thank you guys, keep the fire burning, let us help him stay strong. By the will of the almighty, HE WILL BE FREE………….THE DEVIL AND HIS MAGGOTS ARE LIARS!




  4. Chris Michael

    the evil forces that are at present abusing the honorable MR. MYRIE will not survive the spiritual translation and so regardless of this event and experience, it will be only the righteous that overcome that eclipse of material reality….so although it is like a tree in a storm…the storm will never be the tree…..tell Mr. Myrie to pray and continue to worship as he always has done….THE SPIRIT OF PEACE is upon him and unseen beings guard his every movement.


  5. Warrior Queen


    What Buju Banton (B/B) needs now is continued organised community support on all levels.

    Stay strong B/B.

    Give Thanx.

    Warrior Queen. 28-3-2010.

  6. I truly sorry for him, because he is my country man, but on the other hand, this experience will save him and many others. Our black leaders are too weak; men of his caliber should not be taking illegal drugs of any kind. Who brought the drugs in the community, and for what purpose? Buju is the last man I expected to be taking the (rat poison). But, did he really do it, are was he set up?
    Only Jesus can help these men, and they do not want Jesus.

    • Michele

      Dr. James, I read your comment and respect what you said; however, I was a little set back with your statement, as far as “save him others”

      “Our black leaders are too weak”
      “did he really do it, are was he set up?
      “Only Jesus can help these men, and they do not want Jesus.

      Please allow me to address my set back thought. When you say “Our black leaders” 1. your saying all and that is not fair; plus your statement confirm the “Willie lynch sydome”
      2. As far as being set up, I am reminded of Marcus Garvey who serve time in prison, for mail fraud from a letter that someone on his team forgot to put a letter stamp on, But years later they found the letter with a stamp on it!? (that’s puzzle me) Do it sound a set up? (FBI is the answer)
      3. We as people should respect each and everyone belief’s, because, Jesus command us to LOVE…have this man (Buju) not shown LOVE for his fellow bredrens & Sistas? Again, Dr. James, I respect your opinion, and according to the law Every human being is Innocent until proven other wise in the court of the law.

      • Michele, it was good that you take the time to reply: let me clarified my statement.
        What I should have wrote is this.
        “Should be (Some 0f) “Our black leaders are too weak” A man of Buju Caliber, should know why the rot poison was brought into our community, and should not be supporting it. That is if he is guilty.
        The truth is: He could be set up. Therefore, all what I have written above is not referred to him if he is innocent. But, if he is guilty, he should know better.
        This is all I am trying to say.

  7. Carl Vickers

    Footprints Buju. When you see only one set of footprints, in the sand, it is then that the omnipotent creator is carrying you. Heads high Buju, yours is a lion heart. Put on your iron shirt, we gonna chase the Devil right out of Earth. Buju, the higher they build their barriers, the taller you become. The Devil builds his prisons for incarceration, but a your time this for meditation. Them there bar can not hold you Rasta, them there walls can not contain you my brother, for your spirit is blessed and your spirit is free. While (our leaders) play. There is nothing new here Buju. The same Devil did the same thing to Kunta Kinte and many many more of us for many many years. It’s the same game with another name. Buju yours is a voice in the wilderness. Amongst the cacophony of all this noise, lies, deception, you come with the voice of hope, truth and justice. Small axe, fall tall tree. Nothing lasts for ever. In my house there’s a picture on the wall, Rastafari sit down pon his throne.
    Suggested reading : Alex Haley’s ROOTS.
    Palden Jekins : The Only Planet of Choice (Gateway books).

  8. Michele

    I am really sorry to hear what is happening to Mr. Myrie, and he is in my prayers. But I have a question, that is lingering in my mind. Why do Mr. Myrie has a prison number, when he have not been to trial yet? Because, I know someone who got in trouble with the law, and they kept him in jail, but after he went to trial and then sent to the fed’s that when they gave him his number!! So why do he have a fed’s number?

    • This is a Federal case. Upon arrest he was taken to and held in a Federal facility in Miami (FDC) for over a month. The number is the first thing they issue as your processed into the shitstem.

      • Michele

        “This is a Federal case. Upon arrest he was taken to and held in a Federal facility in Miami (FDC) for over a month. The number is the first thing they issue as your processed into the shitstem” Yes, I understand it is a Federal Case, so was the young man I’m taking about, he was held for 4 months, he didn’t get his Federal number until after he was sentence. Mr. Myrie has not been convicted yet, so back to the question. Why do he have a FD#?

  9. natural moral and Sane

    keep strong my brother, no justice!!!!

  10. Freda

    I wrote him and to my surprise he wrote me back!!!
    Even through the midst of his troubles he found time to write back to a fan!!! Buju has my undying love and support!!!

    I won’t be able to fast due to health and work reasons but he is in my prayers daily 3XS.
    I claim victory over his circumstances! Nothing can stop the will of God! The devil is a liar!!!

    • bishop ranking

      “I wrote him and to my surprise he wrote me back!!!
      Even through the midst of his troubles he found time to write back to a fan!!! Buju has my undying love and support!!!”

      Oh thats so sweet, Buju is a great individual, he’s really got soul, dem cyaa hold him down, rasta haffi rise up from them concrete……A jus mo fiah

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