Innocent Black Man Detained in Va. as Fiancée Calls Experience 'Traumatic' and Chief Apologizes

KC Baker
·3 min read

GMA Jamar Mackey

Jamar Mackey was having lunch with his fiancée, their newborn and their 13-year-old son at the food court of a Virginia mall when a police officer approached and cuffed him.

“You do this in public? You can’t tell me to walk outside? In front of my family?” Mackey can be heard asking on a video his fiancée filmed of the incident, TMZ reports.

As Mackey’s fiancée, Kiara Love, told the officer he had the wrong man, the officer led Mackey out of the food court.

“He didn’t do anything,’” Love can be heard saying in the video, NewsOne reports.

She was right: the officer arrested the wrong man at the Lynnhaven Mall in Virginia Beach – prompting the Virginia Beach Police Department to issue Mackey a public apology at a Monday press conference, 13News Now reports.

“First and foremost, we understand that this was a traumatic event, so I would like to take this opportunity to extend our apologies to Mr. Mackey,” Police Chief Paul Neudigate said.

“No one wants to be handcuffed in front of the family, or in front of the public, like the officer did on Saturday. We apologize for the discomfort that was caused in this incident.”

Officers were investigating the theft of a purse and credit cards that were used at the mall, he said.

They were given a description of the suspect: a man with dreadlocks wearing black, who was with a boy dressed in red, he said.

Spotting Mackey eating at a table in the mall, an officer came up behind him, cuffing him and saying he wanted to talk to him, which Love videotaped.

"Trying to enjoy a meal with my family in the mall but Virginia Beach police out here arresting people for being black with dreads I was so scared this was gonna end differently smh," she wrote in a caption on Facebook with the video.

When Mackey and Love acted surprised he was being cuffed, the officer can be heard telling them to “calm down” before leading Mackey out of the mall.

Standing outside, Love explains, “We in here with our family. This is so f---ing embarrassing. We are with our family. I got my baby here, a newborn. What are you doing?”

After the officer realized his mistake, he removed the handcuffs and apologized as Mackey yelled, “That’s why we fighting for this s–t now! This is how we get treated in 2020!

“This what we march for! This is why we say Black Lives Matter! Look at how y’all treat us! In front of people!”

Nearby, an officer stood talking to the man believed to be the suspect in the alleged credit card theft as the officer who cuffed Mackey explained what happened to Love.

At the press conference, the chief said the department will review its policies. He also said he would like to talk to Mackey “and see it from his perspective.”

The department released a statement saying it will investigate the incident.

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On Monday, Love wrote on her Facebook page, "I just want to publicly thank everyone for the calls texts inboxes and sharing of our video from Saturday at the mall. It was a very traumatic experience for our family that we wouldn’t wish on anyone."