Viral video of innocent man being detained at Lynnhaven Mall leaves officials and NAACP frustrated, upset

Virginia Beach

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — A viral video showing an innocent man being handcuffed and detained by police is under review, according to a statement made by the Virginia Beach Police Department on Sunday.

According to law enforcement, the video was taken Saturday, Dec. 19, inside Lynnhaven Mall.

In the video, the man was handcuffed and escorted outside. The officer on the scene says the man, Jamar Mackey, matched the description of a suspect they were investigating for a report of a stolen purse and use of stolen credit cards. That description was a Black man with dreadlocks wearing all black and with a child.

Mackey was handcuffed while sitting with his family eating before being escorted out of the mall. The man and a woman ask repeatedly for more information about what is happening. 

WARNING: The video contains graphic language.

The video went viral on social media with many outraged at how the man was treated. 

Chief Paul Neudigate says a review of the incident is underway to “determine the propriety of the response in this matter.”

“Certainly, anyone would be upset about being detained for something they didn’t do,” said Chief Neudigate in a statement. “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.”

BELOW: Watch the full press conference with Virginia Beach Police Chief Paul Neudigate Monday.

Once outside the mall, the officers appear to realize they have the wrong person. One of the officers apologizes for handcuffing Mackey in front of his family and people in the mall.

During the encounter, you can hear the woman pointing out other people walking into the mall fitting the same description and she also disputes owning a black truck the police apparently mentioned earlier. 

The video also caught the attention of a local city leaders.

Virginia Beach Councilman Aaron Rouse took to Facebook Sunday evening to share his thoughts saying, “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.”

You can read his full response here.

NAACP response

The Virginia Beach Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) announced they were launching their own investigation into the incident.

“It’s concerning in a number of ways,” said Dr. Karen Hills Pruden, president of the Virginia Beach NAACP, on Monday.

“You very rarely hear such types of identity situations happening to people outside of color,” Pruden added.

Mackey is a local business owner. He was at the mall with his family.

“I wouldn’t use the word ‘racial profiling’ at this point,” Pruden added. “I think I’m going to use the word ‘lack of procedures’ or ‘procedures were not followed.’”

Pruden plans to meet with the police chief and see if they can find out what happened in hopes that it won’t happen again.

“If those were indeed the procedures that you apprehend first and don’t even ask questions of the individual, then I know there needs to be some changes to those procedures,” Pruden said.

Mackey has hired an attorney. He will do a national television interview Tuesday morning and then plans to meet with local media.

Statement from Dr. Karen Hills Pruden, president of Virginia Beach NAACP Sunday night:

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. Even more alarming, calls from the Virginia Beach NAACP to the Virginia Beach Police Chief remain unanswered as of Sunday evening. We are demanding a meeting with the Virginia Beach Police Chief within 48 hours. As the police department has not responded to our inquiries, the Virginia Beach NAACP has launched its own investigation into the incident. The NAACP will not rest until every Black citizen in Virginia Beach can shop, dine, and travel without being racially profiled by our city’s police officers.”

“The NAACP will not rest until every Black citizen in Virginia Beach can shop, dine, and travel without being racially profiled by our city’s police officers,” says the end of the Virginia Beach NAACP statement.

Black Lives Matter 757 response

Black Lives Matter 757 also held a small protest Monday night in the wake of the viral video.

Activists say this case is a prime example of why the city needs to form a citizen investigative review board.

The group’s president says the whole incident plays into an image held by some that Virginia Beach is racist.

“It’s ironic that it took an incident at a mall, to take somebody out, to bring national attention to what we really have been fighting for here for the past, for at least the beginning of the summer,” BLM 757 President Japharii Jones said.

The group was going to protest at Lynnhaven Mall, but were told to leave the property.

Different man arrested

Markee Smith (Courtesy photo)

Monday afternoon, Virginia Beach Police confirmed they had arrested a different person in connection with the investigation into the stolen purse and credit cards.

Markee Smith is facing several charges, including three counts of credit card fraud, receiving stolen credit cards or numbers, receiving stolen property, two counts of probation violation and failure to appear in court on a misdemeanor offense.

This is a developing news story. Stay with WAVY.com for updates.


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