A video posted on Facebook by a woman named Kiara Love shows a man named Jamar Mackey being placed in handcuffs in the middle of lunch with his family at a Virginia Beach food court. Mackey supposedly matched a description of a man with dreads driving a black truck. Based on their conversation, Mackey informed the officers he didn’t drive a black truck and was put in handcuffs in front of his kids anyway.
Love posted the video, which was taken at Lynnhaven Mall, and wrote, “Trying to enjoy a meal with my family in the mall but Virginia Beach police out here arresting people for being black with dreads I was so scared this was gonna end differently smh.”
Understandably, Mackey grows increasingly agitated as the officers continue to harass him while he is in cuffs and then as they lead him out of the food court. A woman’s voice, likely Love, repeats that he didn’t do anything and they do not drive a black truck.
“You serious right now?” Mackey asks.
“This is so f—ing embarrassing,” adds the woman. “We are with our family.”
The video is very tense. In the past year, the Black Lives Matter movement has demonstrated all across the country following the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis. While the officers eventually release Mackey and apologize, it feels as though things could get very dangerous for Mackey and his family. Once the cuffs are off, Mackey can be heard saying, “This is why we march. Black lives matter!”
The video was addressed by Virginia Beach Police Chief Paul Neudigate at a press conference on Monday afternoon, according to WAVY-TV. He claimed that the incident is under investigation.
“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,” he said. “My staff will continue to work quickly even through the approaching holidays to gather all relevant information.”
Other community members of Virginia Beach have responded to the video, including Councilman Aaron Rouse wrote on Facebook, “I have seen the video of the incident at Lynnhaven Mall, and like many of you, I am upset and frustrated for this man who had to endure the embarrassment and indignity of being handcuffed in front of his wife, children and a crowd of shoppers for something that he did not do.”
The local branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) also stated they’d be investigating the incident. In a statement, they president Dr. Karen Hills Pruden wrote:
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 – without masks or personal protective equipment – mistakenly detained a Black man who was spending quality time with his family. As a Virginia Beach officer stated ‘you have the right to be upset,’ and indeed we are just that: quite upset
Mackey has hired a lawyer.