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Police handcuffed an innocent Black man who was eating with his family at a Virginia Beach mall for matching profile of wanted suspect

Business Insider Australia logo Business Insider Australia 22/12/2020 Taylor Ardrey
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  • An innocent Black man was handcuffed by police for matching the description of a suspect they were looking for at a Virginia Beach mall, according to local news.
  • Jamar Mackey was eating in a food court in the mall when police approached him and handcuffed him before telling him why, according to WTKR-TV.
  • Footage of the incident was published online, and community leaders condemned the actions of the officers, WAVY-TV reported.
  • Virginia Beach Police Department launched an investigation into the incident.
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Police approached a Black man while he was eating with his family at a mall and proceeded to handcuff him for matching the description of another wanted suspect they were searching for.

The man, Jamar Mackey, was at a food court in Lynnhaven Mall in Virginia Beach, Virginia, when police cuffed him in front of his family and walked him out of the establishment before giving him an explanation, WTKR-TV reported.

"You serious right now?" Mackey said in the five-minute video that was published on Facebook Saturday. In the video, you can hear a woman stating to the officers that the family does not own a Black truck.

"But what did he do? He didn't do anything," the woman with Mackey asked the officers.

"This is so f---king embarrassing. We are with our family," she said.

When police realised they misidentified him, they released him, apologised, then finally explained their actions to the family. "We got a description of someone that was using stolen credit cards, ok. That person is a Black male with dreads and was wearing all Black and was with a boy that was wearing red," the officer said.

"This is how I get treated in 2020," Mackey responded to the officer towards the end of the video.

"Black Lives Matter, y'all see why we fight," he said.

Virginia Beach Police Department launched an investigation into the incident, WTKR-TV reported.

As WAVY-TV reported, the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People released a statement on Sunday criticising law enforcement for how the situation was handled.

"The Virginia Beach NAACP strongly condemns the apparent racial bias on display in the video clip that has widely circulated on social media today. In the midst of a global pandemic, Virginia Beach police officers â€" without masks or personal protective equipment â€" mistakenly detained a Black man who was spending quality time with his family," Dr. Karen Hills Pruden, president of the organisation, said in a statement on Sunday, according to the news station.

Pruden also stated that the organisation opened its own investigation and "will not rest until every Black citizen in Virginia Beach can shop, dine, and travel without being racially profiled by our city's police officers."

Virginia Beach Police Chief Paul Neudigate addressed how the department is handling the situation during a press conference on Monday afternoon, according to WAVY-TV.

"Even though I don't have the answers that everyone is looking for today we thought it was critically important to update our community where we stand. My staff will continue to work quickly even through the approaching holidays to gather all relevant information," Chief Neudigate said.

He added: "Once again right or wrong, we have to be able to apologise when our actions greatly inconvenience a member of the community that we serve. So, let me this opportunity to personally extend my apology to Mr. Mackey for this incident."

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