An innocent Black man was handcuffed and escorted out of Virginia Beach’s Lynnhaven Mall on Saturday (Dec. 19) after police officers mistook him for a suspect. A viral video of the incident has made rounds on social media, which show officers detaining the man, referred to as Jamar, in front of his family.
“Are you serious right now?” the man asks the police.
Police had apparently approached the man and his family and asked if they drove a black truck. Jamar replied that he doesn’t even own a black truck, but officers still handcuffed him and led him out of the mall. A woman filming the incident continuously asks police, “What did he even do?” as the cops refuse to inform Jamar why they are detaining him.
After a few minutes outside, the officers finally release Jamar and explained that he fit the description of a male suspect.
“We got a description that someone was using stolen credit cards,” one cop said. “That person was a Black male in dreads, was wearing all black and was with a boy that was wearing red.”
A few feet away, another man and child fitting the description were also being questioned by police. Jamar yells, “This is why we march!” and “Black Lives Matter” before the cop apologized for wrongfully detaining him.
“I sincerely apologize. It was a complete misunderstanding,” the officer told the woman filming the incident. “If he was using stolen credit cards and had a stolen vehicle then I wouldn’t have talked to him; I would’ve just taken him into custody and detained him.”
According to The Virginian-Pilot, the Virginia Beach Police Department will open an investigation into how the officers handled the incident. In a statement issued on Sunday (Dec. 20), Chief Paul Neudigate acknowledged people’s concerns.
“Certainly, anyone would be upset about being detained for something they didn’t do,” Neudigate said. “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.”
T.I. also commented on the footage on Instagram, writing, “We all deserve better…”
See video from the incident below.