A black man wrongfully arrested at a Virginia shopping mall because he matched the description of a credit card fraudster has described the experience as ‘dehumanizing’.
Jamar Mackey was handcuffed in front of his fiancee and their two children at Lynnhaven Mall in Virginia Beach on Saturday, with the entire incident captured on camera.
Video of the arrest sparked outrage and quickly went viral, with many viewers accusing the arresting officers of racial profiling.
On Tuesday, Mackey spoke out about the event for the first time, concurring with those claims.
‘We were sitting down, enjoying he holidays and having some lunch with my family,’ he told Good Morning America.
‘Next thing you know, I’m in handcuffs. No words, no explanation. How do you still racially profile a black man with dreads in 2020?’
Jamar Mackey was handcuffed in front of his fiancee and their two children at Lynnhaven Mall in Virginia Beach on Saturday, with the entire incident captured on camera. He is pictured at right being interviewed on Good Morning America on Tuesday
‘It hurts me,’ Mackey continued. ‘What if they had shot me in front of my son, or tasered me in front of my son?’
The Virginia Beach Police Department says it was a case of ‘mistaken identity’ and have expressed regret about the incident.
‘A specific suspect description, including clothing and other factors was provided to our officers on Saturday. As a result, Mackie was subsequently approached and handcuffed,’ a police official explained on Monday.
‘We apologize for the discomfort.’
Video of the arrest, first shared on Facebook over the weekend, has now been viewed tens of thousands of times
Mackey has since hired an attorney, who says the wrongful arrest is evidence of a ‘systemic problem’ within the Virginia Beach Police Department.
It is unclear whether he now plans to pursue legal action against the organization.
Video of the arrest, first shared on Facebook over the weekend, has now been viewed tens of thousands of times.
The viral clips starts with Mackie sitting at a food court table, with a full meal spread out in front of him, before he is approached and handcuffed by a police officer.
TMZ reported that an officer put handcuffs on Mackey without explaining what he was doing first.
A woman – believed to be Mackey’s fiancee – can be heard asking what the police officers are doing, saying that the family just arrived at the mall.
Mackey does not struggle with police as he is escorted outside, but he does repeatedly ask ‘Are you serious right now?’ and referencing Black Lives Matter.
After nearly three minutes, police realize that they don’t have the person they’re looking for and remove the handcuffs, while explaining that they were acting on a report that a black male with dreads, wearing all black, in the company of a boy wearing red, had been using stolen credit cards at the mall.
Once outside the shopping mall, police realized that they had taken the wrong man into custody and released him (pictured)
Police said they had been working off a description of a suspect accompanied by a boy wearing red. Police are seen speaking with a suspect (left) while Mackey is shown with a boy in a red hoodie (right)