A Black man mistakenly detained by Virginia police officers who were not wearing masks has tested positive for coronavirus, his family confirmed, and he believes he was exposed during the encounter.
On 19 December, Virginia Beach police detained Jamar Mackey at the Lynnhaven Mall food court, believing he fit the description of a Black man with dreadlocks who was suspected of using stolen credit cards.
Video of the encounter captures Mr. Mackey repeatedly asking why he’s being detained by the office, who is in close proximity with him for minutes without a mask. Eventually, he is escorted outside, before being released.
“This is how we get treated in 2020,” Mackey says during the clip. “This is why we say Black Lives Matter.”
Three days after the incident, Mr Mackey got tested. Though it’s unclear where he got coronavirus or how long he’s had it, he believes it was because of the arrest.
“I’m very angry that they put my family at risk,” Shantel Covil, Mr Mackey’s fiancé, told WAVY, which first reported the news. “Me and Jamar, that’s one thing but our kids, that’s what upsets me the most.”
Mr Mackey, who has two children, is reportedly in quarantine with mild Covid symptoms including a fever, cough, and sore throat.
Ms Covil captured video of the encounter and put it on Facebook the same day, where it got 40,000 impressions and nearly as many shares.
After the video went viral, Virginia Beach police chief Paul Neudigate apologized on 21 December.
“It will be addressed,” Mr Neudigate said, noting they eventually arrested the correct person. “We are required to wear masks. We set the standard, we set an example for our community.”