Spragga Benz’s Son, Carlton Grant, Jr., Killed by Kingston Police
Article and Photo by Brittany Somerset
Sept. 5, 2008 Kingston, Jamaica – A source in Jamaica, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, spoke exclusively to Brittany Somerset about the tragic, untimely demise of 17-year-old Carlton “Carlie” Grant, Jr, son of Reggae veteran Spragga Benz, who was allegedly murdered by police in downtown Kingston, late in the evening on August 23, 2008.
It’s reported that at approximately 11:50 p.m., Carlie and a friend were leaving a video game rental store on the corner of Church and East Queen St. The friend begins, “Carlie was stopped on his bicycle while coming from the store with a teenage friend. Police stopped him and told him to get off his bike, and he obeyed. He identified himself. He said, ‘I’m Spragga Benz’s son.’ The police smirked as if in disbelief. They did not think Spragga’s son would be in the ghetto, but he was visiting family. The police fired one shot into the air, and told them to run. Carlie’s friend took off running. Carlie stayed where he was, with his hands in the air. One of the policemen whispered something to a second officer, and the officer then shot him at point blank range in the face. They executed him. All reports of Carlie having a gun, firing at police, or running, are completely false. Carlie stayed at the scene, and declared himself. After they shot him once in the face, and when he collapsed to the ground, he was shot a second time. This was murder.”
The friend went to say, “The police are trying to portray Carlie as a gunman to justify their actions, but there is no justification for murdering an innocent youth. Carlie was no gunman! He had a bright future ahead of him. He acted in the movie Shottas when he was only 10 years old (he played Little Wayne in the movie.) He was a good student who achieved high marks in school. He just passed his exams [at Camperdown High School,] and would have graduated to 6th form (college). He most likely would have been accepted to UWI (University of the West Indies). This isn’t a kid who was running the streets. This was a kid who was studying for college. The Jamaican media ran the worst photo of Carlie. They tried to portray him as a gunman. He was wearing a white tee shirt and a red doo rag around his neck. There are so many nice photos of Carlie in a button-down shirt, or a school uniform, and they used the one photo that makes him look like a tough youth.”
“There was no logic for him to be accused of being a gunman,” he continued. “They executed another kid, and they fucked up because it was somebody of stature’s child that they murdered. And now, they are pissing dem pants and trying to make excuses for it, but there is no excuse for it. You see when youths rob in the ghetto, it’s because they are hungry and dey need dem belly full. Spragga Benz is a successful artist, him son nah hungry and him have no reason to do wrong.”
“Kids who are subjected to poverty turn to the streets. Carlie was well provided for. Now they are running a smear campaign against Spragga, trying to say he was a bad parent. Nothing could be further from the truth. This was Spragga’s eldest son and Spragga adored him. Spragga runs a charity called, ‘Stay in School.’ He has donated computers and books to schools.”
“Spragga is a conscious person. He is a Rastafarian, a Bobo Shanti. Him sing about consciousness and positivity. His youth was a conscious youth,” his friend said.
*2020 Update: Spragga Benz released a new album, The Journey Chosen,” in 2020, featured is the song “Never Leave,” a tribute to his beloved son, Carlie Grant, Jr. Watch the video here.
“Never in the history of Jamaican culture, with the exceptions of Bob (Marley) [and Peter Tosh] has an entertainer been shot before. Since the days of Bob Marley, anybody of stature is usually protected; however, it’s the norm for ghetto kids to be murdered every day.” He continued, “Poor people in the ghetto can’t afford to fight off, or speak out, about police brutality because dem fear for their lives. The people feel safer with the gunmen than they do with the police. They don’t feel protected by the police. The force is corrupted. Out there, they like to be judge and jury. There is no ‘due process.’ They would rather just shoot someone than give them a trial. They will shoot someone who is unarmed and plant a gun on them, and say it was self-defense. How is it self-defense to execute an unarmed teenager whose hands are in the air?” he asked.
“They falsely reported him ‘take off runnin’. If so, why didn’t they shoot him in the leg? If someone is running away from you, their back is to you, so tell me now how could the bullets enter his face from that direction and not enter the back of his head first? I have a feeling this is going to remain an unsolved mystery, like Tupac and Biggie, because even though people in the hood know what really happened, this is Jamaica, where we say ‘Seeing blind, hearing deaf.’ If people spoke up they would be terrorized by the police. This is nothing new. But now, with the international media attention, the government can’t turn a blind eye to this.”
“Last night there was a ‘nine night,’ (a wake) in downtown Kingston, at a family member’s house in Telaville. All the entertainers came out to show their support. We are still in shock.” He concluded by saying, “Unfortunately dis type a ting go on every day in di ghetto and the little youths dem dead before dey reach the hospital. They’re usually pronounced dead on arrival.”
Editor Note: It was reported that on Sept. 1, 2008, sign-wielding residents of downtown Kingston demonstrated in front of the Central Police Station to raise awareness of the tragic shooting and unanswered questions. Police have reportedly have not provided any answers, even from the teen’s grieving mother. The Bureau of Special Investigations has been called in to examine this case and to provide answers.