Virginia Beach, VA – An investigation has begun after a video posted on Twitter showed Virginia Beach police officers handcuffing an innocent man in a case of mistaken identity.
The man in the video, who has yet to be identified, was approached by police while he was eating lunch at the mall with his family. Officers placed him and cuffs in front of his son and walked him out of the mall full of on lookers.
According to police, they were looking for a Black man with dreadlocks, wearing all Black. Despite the man and his family telling the police they had the wrong man, he was cuffed and taken outside. The officer didn’t appear to take the time to ask the man any questions before handcuffed him.
Eventually, the man is released, and the officer apologizes as it appeared the actual person they were looking for was in custody.
Understandably, the man was extremely upset with the officer for embarrassing him in front of his family and a food court full of people.
“Are you serious right now?” the handcuffed man asked in the video. He said this kind of treatment is why people are marching and why people say “Black Lives Matter.”
After the video was posted on Sunday, Virginia Beach Police Chief Paul Neudigate responded and said his department has launched an investigation.
“Certainly, anyone would be upset about being detained for something they didn’t do” said Chief Neudigate. “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.”
The Virginia Beach NAACP said they have been ignored by the department and are demanding answers. They released the following statement:
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.