Jamaica’s ‘Rambo’ retires, eyes acting
By Howard Campbell
KINGSTON, Jamaica — A feared police commander known as "Rambo," who led a commando-style team accused of multiple killings across Jamaica, retired Saturday and said he plans to pursue an acting career.
Reneto Adams, considered effective but ruthless as commander of an elite, anti-crime unit, is a media sensation in this Caribbean nation who rarely appears in public without his signature aviator sunglasses, helmet and black combat gear.
Jamaicans often ask for his autograph, and local musicians have compared him in song to Rambo, Saddam Hussein and Dirty Harry. He made his TV debut this year in the soap opera "Royal Palm Estate," a love-and-intrigue-story based in Jamaica.
Adams announced his retirement after 41 years with the department, saying he has turned 59 years old — the mandatory retirement age for Jamaican police.
At a news conference Saturday, Adams expressed some regret for a 2001 shootout involving his squad that left an estimated 28 people dead in the capital’s Tivoli Gardens neighborhood.
"The criminal elements have always tried to make this community hostile to the police," he told reporters. "So for that, I am eternally sorry and in sorrow for the circumstances that took place."
The Crime Management Unit that Adams headed was created in 2000 to combat rising violence in Kingston. A local rights group, Families Against State Terrorism, has linked his team to at least 40 extrajudicial killings. It was disbanded in 2003.
Adams was permanently relegated to desk duties in 2004 because of a raid the year before in which four people were killed, although he and five squad members were later cleared in the deaths.
The day after his acquittal, he released a dancehall song called "Serve and Protect," in which he warned criminals that he was returning to the streets. He also accused rights groups of "trying to stop me from doing my job while hoodlums continue to destroy the only livelihood we have."
He said Saturday that he will focus on acting and plans an autobiography.