Virginia man tests positive for COVID-19 days after wrongful arrest

Jamar Mackey learned he had contracted coronavirus after being racially profiled at a mall in Virginia Beach

Jamar Mackey was humiliated when police officers wrongfully detained him in front of his family at a Virginia shopping mall last month, which was captured on video. Unfortunately, ABC News reports that he was diagnosed with coronavirus days after the incident, according to his fiancé, Shantel Covil.

As previously reported by theGrio, Mackey was with Covil and their two children, eating in the food court of Virginia Beach’s Lynnhaven Mall on Dec. 19 when maskless police officers approached him and handcuffed him in front of his family.

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The police escorted Mackey outside of the mall in cuffs. Apparently, Mackey fit the description of a suspect they were looking for. “We got a description of someone who was using stolen credits cards,” the officer told them. “That man is a Black man with dreads and he’s wearing all black and was with a boy that was wearing read.”

An officer is shown arresting Jamar Mackey at a mall in Virginia Beach in an instance of mistaken identity. (Credit: NoPauseTV/YouTube)

Covil recorded everything with her cellphone camera, pleading with the officers, “Y’all got the wrong person.”

It was soon determined that Mackey was in fact not the right suspect, prompting the officer to uncuff Mackey and apologize to him and Covil. “I sincerely apologize. It was a complete misunderstanding,” he stated.

Covil revealed that Mackey took a precautionary coronavirus test on Dec. 22, three days after the incident, and the results came back positive on Dec. 24. She says that Mackey had experienced mild symptoms of a “low grade fever, a cough, and a sore throat.”

According to the Virginian-Pilot, Portsmouth attorney Don Scott says that while Mackey is uncertain how or from whom he exactly contracted COVID-19, Mackey did not experience any symptoms until after the police incident.

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“He was healthy before this, and he and his family have been very careful,” Scott said. “His mask was down at the time because he was eating. The officers never gave him a chance to pull it back up and they weren’t wearing masks.”

Chief Virginia Beach Police Chief Paul Neudigate stated that an investigation would be done on the officers regarding not wearing their masks. “There is a requirement. We are required to wear masks,” Neudigate stated. “We set the standard, we set an example for our community.”

Neudigate had previously apologized to Mackey during a Dec. 21 press conference concerning the wrongful detainment. Virginia Beach Police, however, would not confirm whether the officer in question had tested positive for COVID-19. Police spokeswoman Linda Kuehn states that employee medical information is protected by privacy laws, as reported by the Virginian-Pilot.

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