The count against Kyrie Baum stems from a Feb. 21 attack at a county jail that left 37-year-old Jawara McIntosh with traumatic brain injuries and in a coma, according to the Bergen County Sheriff's Office. The charge was made public Friday, and the agency said Baum has already been indicted.
It wasn't known Sunday if Baum has retained an attorney.
Authorities have not said what sparked the attack, which they say lasted less than 10 seconds and took place in a general custody housing unit. Baum, 40, of Fort Lee, New Jersey, was being held at the jail on robbery and gun possession charges at the time.
McIntosh is hospitalized in Boston and remains unresponsive and in a coma, suffering from brain damage, said attorney Jasmine Rand. She also said that McIntosh's family has filed notice that it plans to sue and also wants the U.S. Justice Department to investigate.
McIntosh, of Boston, was arrested in June 2013 after police said they found more than 65 pounds of marijuana in the trunk of his car. He eventually pleaded guilty to marijuana possession and was two months into serving a six-month sentence at the time of the attack.
Bergen County sheriff's officers immediately responded to the attack, authorities said, adding that McIntosh was treated by medical personnel at the jail before he was transported to Hackensack University Medical Center.
The major crimes unit of the county prosecutor's office was notified of the attack due to the serious injuries McIntosh suffered.
McIntosh performed under the stage name Tosh. His father was a Jamaican-born musician and activist who started The Wailers along with Bob Marley. His 1976 hit, "Legalize It," remains a rallying cry for those pushing to make marijuana legal.
McIntosh is also a pro-marijuana activist and performed the song outside of the New Jersey statehouse in April 2014 during a rally pushing for state and federal lawmakers to legalize or decriminalize marijuana. His family says that he is a Rastafarian like his father and was fighting for marijuana legalization.
Tosh was killed in Jamaica in 1987 during a home invasion robbery.
Rastafarians regard cannabis as a sacrament.