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Thursday, 31 December 2020

Black man wrongfully detained by maskless police officer tests positive for COVID-19, fiancee says

 A Black man who was detained by police in Virginia Beach, Virginia after being suspected for a crime he did not commit, has tested positive for the coronavirus, according to his fiancĂ©e, Shantel Covil.

Jamar Mackey, whose detainment was captured in a viral video, allegedly received a positive coronavirus test result on Christmas Eve -- five days after being apprehended by a maskless police officer, according to Covil. 

Mackey's ordeal unfolded on Dec. 19 as he, Covil, and their 13-year-old son and baby were seated at a table in the Lynnhaven Mall food court eating lunch and "trying to enjoy the holidays."

"And next, you know, I'm in handcuffs. No words, no explanation," Mackey said.

In the video taken by Covil, a white Virginia Beach police sergeant is seen handcuffing Mackey as he sat at the table, saying, "I want to talk to you, OK?" and mentioning something about a suspect in a black truck.

"Y'all got the wrong person. We don't even have a black truck," Covil is heard in the video telling the sergeant, who was not wearing a protective mask.

The sergeant, according to the video, then told the visibly angry Mackey to stand up.

"You're going to do this in public, make me walk outside in front of my family?" Mackey told the sergeant, who proceeded to grab onto Mackey's arm and lead him through the crowded food court and out the front door, where they were met by other police officers, who were also not wearing masks.

Once outside, Mackey and Covil appealed to another white officer, telling him repeatedly that they have the wrong person. "Maybe you are the wrong person," the officer responded, telling Mackey to "calm down" and "relax."

After getting on his radio, the sergeant told Mackey that he was indeed the wrong man but briefly kept Mackey in handcuffs while saying "give me one minute" to explain.

Mackey demanded the handcuffs be removed immediately and the sergeant complied, telling Mackey that he matched the description of a credit card fraud suspect with dreadlocks and dressed all in black.

"I sincerely apologize. It was a complete misunderstanding," the sergeant told Mackey, according to the video.

Covil, who filmed the video, told WAVY that Mackey took a COVID-19 test as a health precaution on Dec. 22. On Christmas Eve, the test came back positive she said, and that Mackey is currently quarantining at his home, with mild symptoms including a "low grade fever, a cough, and a sore throat."

Covil also said that she and the two children she shares with Mackey were also tested. As of Tuesday evening, they had not received their results.

VBPD Chief Paul Neudigate apologized for the Mackey's detainment at a press conference on Dec. 21. When asked about the maskless officer, Neudigate said that VBPD officers are required to wear face coverings.

"It will be addressed," Neudigate said. "There is a requirement. We are required to wear masks. We set the standard, we set an example for our community."

Neudigate added that a possible third party may have been involved in identifying Mackey as a possible suspect to police.

Neudigate also said that VBPD officers later arrested a different person with dreadlocks who was charged with credit card fraud.

The Virginia Beach Police Department could not say if the officer involved in the incident had COVID-19 or not, due to health privacy laws, WVEC reported.

Mackey's attorney, Don Scott, told "Good Morning America" on Dec. 22 that they are currently looking into legal action against the police department.

"Everybody in this region knows this is how you get treated. This is how Black males get treated in Virginia Beach," Scott said to GMA. "So, this is what we hope to be able to change." ABC News has not received a response from the Virginia Beach Police Department for comment.

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