A Black man was wrongfully arrested in a Virginia shopping mall as police believed he was a credit card thief. In an embarrassing situation, Jamar Mackey was handcuffed in front of his fiancee and their two children at Lynnhaven Mall in Virginia Beach on Saturday, while he was still having lunch.
According to eyewitnesses, although Mackey pleaded innocence, the officer was in no mood to listen to him and dragged him away. The entire incident was captured on camera, which immediately went viral, with many social media users accusing the arresting officers of racial profiling. However, police later realized their mistake and released Mackey and issued an apology.
Arrested for No Reason
Mackey was with his family at the shopping mall and had just started having lunch, when an officer came and handcuffed him accusing him to be a credit card thief. It took Mackey by surprise as he tried to defend himself by explaining the officer that he must have made a mistake.
The entire incident was captured on video by Mackey's fiancÃ©e Covil. "You're doing this in public? We can't walk outside? In front of my family?" an angry Mackey can be heard telling the officer.
"Listen, I'm going to explain all of this," the sergeant replies.
Even Mackey's family members including Covil can be heard asking the officer: "What did he do?" Mackey is then dragged out of the mall despite constant resistance. He can be seen angry and embarrassed as he is taken away by cops. "We in here with our family. This is so f****ing embarrassing. We are with our family. I got my baby here, a newborn. What are you doing?" Covil tells the officer.
However, a few moments later, the officer can be seen taking off his handcuffs after he realized that he had arrested the wrong man. "That's why we fighting for this s**t now! This is how we get treated in 2020!" Mackey shouts as he's freed. "This what we march for! This is why we say Black Lives Matter! Look at how y'all treat us! In front of people!"
The Virginia Beach Police Department later said that it was a case of "mistaken identity" wherein Mackay matched the description of the original credit card thief, who slipped from the hands of the officers.
The video of the incident immediately went viral, with several social media users accusing the responding officers of racial discrimination and profiling. Following this, the Virginia Beach Police Department issued an apology via a statement to Mackey. The statement also noted that an investigation is underway to review the arresting officer's response to the matter.
We are gathering all the facts to evaluate the incident so we can address the concerns people have raised," Police Chief Paul Neudigate of Virginia Beach Police Department said. Following this, Mackey held a press conference on Tuesday.
"It hurts me," he told ABC's 'Good Morning America' on Tuesday. "What if they had shot me in front of my son, or tasered me in front of my son?" Mackey said the worst part about the entire situation was that his teenage son had to witness his wrongful arrest.
Mackey has also hired an attorney, who says the wrongful arrest is evidence of a 'systemic problem' within the Virginia Beach Police Department. It isn't still clear if he plans to take legal actions for the harassment.