A Black man was wrongfully handcuffed and arrested by police while eating lunch with his family at Lynnhaven Mall in Virginia Beach.
Jamar Mackey was joined by his fiancée, his teenage son, and newborn baby as the family enjoyed lunch together at the mall on Sunday.
A police officer approached the family since he believed Mackey was a suspect who had stolen a credit card, later saying that he fit the description: a Black man with dreadlocks accompanied by a boy wearing red.
He then went on to arrest Mackey in front of his family. The incident, which was later described as “traumatic,” was caught on camera by Mackey’s fiancée, Shantel Covil, who can be heard in the video asking police what her partner had done.
Mackey was questioned by the police and became understandably angry over the mistake, particularly since it was happening in front of his 13-year-old son.
He asked police why it was necessary to arrest him in public and in front of his family, to which the police officer replies that he will explain.
Covil attempted to reassure Mackey and calm him down, but the pair was frustrated and “embarrassed” by the mistake and insisted that Mackey be released.
After realizing they should never have arrested Mackey, police removed the handcuffs and de-arrested him.
In the video, Mackey refers to the Black Lives Matter movement and expresses his anger at the fact that this is how he and other Black people are being treated. He explains this is why people are fighting against institutional racism.
He also did an interview where he explained: “It’s just disturbing, honestly, just to even think about it again. I keep reliving it. We were just sitting down and enjoying the holidays, trying to get some lunch with my family, and next thing I know, I’m in handcuffs.”
Covil added: “It was humiliating. It was embarrassing. We are just like, ‘What is going on?’ and I honestly thought we were being pranked at first because I’m like, we are business owners, and we stay home and take care of our children, and that’s it.”
Following the incident, the Virginia Beach Police Department held a press conference on Monday to publicly apologize for the way Jamar Mackey had been treated.
The police chief, Paul Neudigate, said that nobody should experience what he did and confirmed that an investigation is underway into the actions of the police officer involved.
It is believed that the family will sue the police officers who mishandled the situation.