Many are outraged after a video of an innocent black man arrested by police in Virginia Beach went viral.
On December 19, inside of Lynnhaven Mall, a video recorded police detaining a man that matched the description of a suspect they believed had committed a crime. The person authorities were looking for was an “African American man with dreadlocks wearing all black and with a child.”
When police approached the man, he was sitting with his family eating. Authorities then handcuffed and escorted him out of the mall while he and a woman continuously asked what was going on.
After being uploaded on social media, the video went viral.
According to Virginia Beach Police Department Chief Neudigate, an investigation is currently in process 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.”
Once officers took the man outside, they reportedly realized that he was innocent. They apologized for detaining him in front of his loved ones and other shoppers.
On Sunday evening, Virginia Beach Councilman Aaron Rouse wrote on Facebook:
“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.”
The Virginia Beach NAACP also released a statement and vowed not to stop until every Black person within the area can do everyday activities without the fear of being targeted by local authorities.
“The Virginia Beach NAACP strongly condemns the apparent racial bias on display in the video clip that has widely circulated on social media today,” the Virginia Beach NAACP statement read.
“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 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.”
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