‘This happens all the time’: Innocent man handcuffed, detained by Virginia Beach police speaks out

Virginia Beach

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Jamar Mackey is the innocent man seen in a viral video being handcuffed and detained by police Sunday at a mall — and today, he comments on the incident.

The video was taken Saturday, Dec. 19, inside Lynnhaven Mall and is currently under review, according to a statement made by the Virginia Beach Police Department on Sunday.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the video had over 34,000 interactions and over 1,500 comments on Facebook.

10 On Your Side was able to speak with Mackey Wednesday about the incident. He says he would be willing to accept an in-person apology, however, no one has contacted him.

“I would like to accept the apology face-to-face. I haven’t been reached out to yet. They did their interview live on Facebook, but, I will accept it if he contacts my phone, contacts my lawyer — maybe then, I would take it more seriously,” Mackey.

The first thing Jamar Mackey, who was standing with his fiancé Shantel Covil, wants you to know is how embarrassing the wrongful detention was, 

“I cannot tell you the trauma suffered by my son who asks with confusion ‘why are they arresting you dad?’  My family deals with this, and I hope no other fathers and sons have to endure this drama and trauma. 

 On Wednesday, Mackey spoke with 10 On Your Side about Saturday’s events; how he was minding his own business when he says police officers confirmed to him something he’s believed for a while.

“I have always known the Virginia Beach Police Department to be racist. They have no respect for Black people, but especially Black men. I know systemic racism exits in Virginia Beach and within this police department,” he alleged.

He reached out to Pharrell Williams to speak out on what happened. If Pharrell were watching, Mackey explained what he’d say to the music artist, a Virginia Beach native,

“I would say ‘This happens all the time. We need someone with a big platform like you to help me out and explain what is going on. To stop this so we can get justice,’” he said. 

Mackey’s attorney, Don Scott, said the bottom line is that police did what they did — handcuffing Mackey and leading him outside — knowing they were not looking for a violent criminal, but someone who stole credit cards.

“Why? They are supposed to be trained to de-escalate and what they did was escalate. He is sitting down with his family, and they approached him, and they did not have masks on,” he said. 

Virginia Beach police on Monday held a press conference to address the video. Police Chief Paul Neudigate’s main message: “We want to apologize.”

Neudigate said the department is doing an internal review and looking at case law to determine whether the officer’s actions were justified in the detainment.

Virginia Beach police report no new developments in the internal investigation, and Attorney Scott says it is unsure at this time whether a lawsuit will be filed. 

Scott says that Mackey and his family had to get tested for COVID-19 because the officers involved were not wearing masks.

Scott blames the Neudigate for not addressing the fact the police officers were not wearing masks, 

“In his news conference he did not say we have tested those officers who violated policy. We have negative tests, so we can assure his family they are OK.  My clients had to go on their own to get COVID-19 tests for themselves to make sure the officers didn’t harm him or his family.”

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