Investigation Launched After Black Man Wrongly Detained at Virginia Mall for Allegedly Matching Suspect Description

An investigation has been launched after an innocent Black man allegedly matching a suspect's description was arrested at a Virginia Beach mall.

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Image via Getty/artolympic

police lights

An investigation has been launched after an innocent Black man who allegedly matched a suspect's description was arrested at a Virginia Beach mall.

The man, who has since been identified as Jamar Mackey, was eating with his family in the food court of the Lynnhaven Mall when the arrest—which was recorded—occurred. WTKR reports that the incident is now the subject of an investigation at the Virginia Beach Police Department. An officer can be seen approaching the family in the clip to place Mackey's hands behind him and handcuff him, with multiple people asking what is happening and why he was being cuffed.

"What did he do?" asked the woman who filmed the incident. Mackey added, "You got the wrong person." 

An unidentified officer in the video can be heard explaining that Mackey matches the description of a fraud suspect they were looking for. "We got a description of someone using stolen credit cards. That person is a black male with dreads and is wearing all black and was with a boy wearing red," the officer said.

Mackey was later let go, with at least one of the officers apologizing for the incident. "Certainly, anyone would be upset about being detained for something they didn’t do," said Police Chief Paul Neudigate. "While the video shows the officer stayed calm and respectful throughout the brief encounter, we must ensure the situation merits the response. We are gathering all the facts to evaluate the incident so we can address the concerns people have raised."

Councilman Aaron Rouse condemned the incident in a statement he shared on Facebook. "I am upset and frustrated for this man who has to endure the embarrassment and indignity of being handcuffed in front of his wife, children and crowd of shoppers for something he did not do," Rouse wrote. "Like you all, I’ll be watching to see what more we learn in the coming days, so that we can better understand what actions we must take to prevent something like this from happening to anyone else."

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