The Virginia Beach Police Department has apologized after an officer mistakenly linked a black man to a credit card thief and publicly handcuffed him to his family while watching a crowded mall.
Jam Amar Mackie was at the Linhenhene Mall on Virginia Beach on Saturday when an officer approached him at a food court where he was sitting with his family enjoying a meal and handcuffed him, according to a Facebook video. Although he denied involvement in the robbery, officers handcuffed Mackie from the mall to release him only after they realized he was the wrong person.
Mackey’s fiancée, 13-year-old son and their newborn baby were present. WVEC:“Makin և his fiancée did not immediately respond to a request for comment from NBC News.
After the video of the dispute went viral, VBPD և Police Chief Paul Nedigate released a announcement: Sunday.
“Of course, everyone would be upset that they were imprisoned for what they did not do,” said Neudigat. “Whether it is seen in the video that the officer remained calm and respectful during the brief meeting, we must make sure that the situation deserves a response. We gather all the facts to assess the case so that we can address the concerns raised by the people.
The statement said that an investigation was underway to review the arrest officer’s response.
The VBPD did not respond to a request for comment from NBC News on Tuesday.
Neudigate apologized to Mackie at a news conference on Monday.
“Right or wrong, we should be able to apologize when our actions cause great inconvenience to a member of the community,” Nedigate said, explaining that officers at the mall were investigating a report of stolen credit cards. “Mack fit the suspect’s description,” he said. :
The five-minute video shows Mack sitting in a crowded fodder with his hands behind his back and the officer handcuffing him as he and his fiancée, who is recording the video, try to explain that they are not wearing black. the truck, after being asked by the officer.
“What did he do? Can you tell me?” “We just came with our family, we don’t even have a black truck,” said Mackie’s bride.
Makin added. “You got the wrong person.”
After escorting Mackie outside, the officer in the video explains that Mackie matches the description of the credit card theft suspect, about which Mackey and his fiancée have repeatedly denied having information.
“We are with our children.” Mackie’s bride said. “Do you think my son will forget this?” he said, adding that the situation was “shameful” for him and his family.
Eventually, the officer released Mackie and tried to explain himself.
“We received a description that someone was using stolen credit cards. “That person is a frightened SS man, fully clothed, with a red-haired boy,” the officer said before apologizing.
In the days following the incident, local officials supported Mackie, condemning the VBPD’s actions, calling the detention discriminatory.
“I saw the video of the incident at Lynnhaven Mall. ‘Like many of you, I’m outraged; I’m disappointed in this man who had to endure the shame and humiliation of getting handcuffs in front of his wife, children երեխաների the shopping crowd.’ for something he did not do, “said Aaron Rose, a board member on Facebook Post:“How does a law-abiding citizen, a family man, a husband, a father, a small business owner get handcuffs for what he did not do?” Why did this happen to him? What is the standard operating procedure? ”
“Children’s illegal detention of Maki in front of his children was unacceptable, symbolic of the often disproportionate treatment of people of color by law enforcement,” said El-Louria, D-Va. Twitter:,
The Virginia Beach NAACP also responded to the incident, saying: “Virginia Beach” NAACP strongly condemns the obvious racial bias shown in the video, which is widely shared on social media today. “Against the backdrop of the global epidemic, Virginia Beach police officers, without masks or personal protective equipment, mistakenly detained a black man who was spending quality time with his family.”
The NAACP added that they would not rest until “every black citizen in Virginia Beach can go shopping, dine or travel without being described as racial by our city police.”
Police have arrested another man in connection with the robbery on Saturday. Mark Smith, 28, has been charged with four counts of credit card fraud, two counts of contingent fraud and two counts of contingent felony criminal mischief.
On Monday, Mackie referred to the incident on his Facebook page, thanking those who supported him.
“I just want to publicly thank everyone for their text box inboxes for sharing our video in the shopping center of the week. “It was a very traumatic experience for our family that we would not wish on anyone,” said Mackie Post:adding that he wants to return to normal so that he and his family can enjoy the holidays.
Neidigate said the ongoing investigation would try to answer whether the initial approach and stop were justified, whether the use of handcuffs was justified.