VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — A viral video showing police handcuffing an innocent man at Lynnhaven Mall is now under review, according the Virginia Beach Police Department.
In the five-minute clip, the man is seen sitting at a table with his family in the food court as an officer detains him. He is then escorted out of the area.
“What did he do?” asked a woman who recorded the incident.
“You got the wrong person,” said the man, visibly upset.
He was right. He was not who police were looking for.
On Dec. 19, a Virginia Beach Police officer was investigating a crime reported at the mall and the man matched the description of the suspect, according to Chief Paul Neudigate.
“We got a description of someone using stolen credit cards. That person is a Black male with dreads and is wearing all black and was with a boy wearing red,” said an unidentified Virginia Beach police officer in the video.
The officers released the man a short time later when they realized he was the wrong person. One of the officers apologizes in the video.
As of Sunday, the video had more than 1.4 million views on social media and had been shared by civil rights activist, Shaun King, and rap artist, T.I.
“Certainly, anyone would be upset about being detained for something they didn’t do” said 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.”
VBPD is reviewing the incident to determine if the response was appropriate.
Virginia Beach council member Aaron Rouse also posted a lengthy statement on Facebook about the incident.
“I am upset and frustrated for this man who has to endure the embarrassment and indignity of being handcuffed in front of his wife, children and crowd of shoppers for something he did not do,” said Rouse.
The Virginia Beach NAACP has launched its own investigation and demands a meeting with the police chief, claiming their calls had gone unanswered as of Sunday night.
Chapter president Dr. Karen Hill Pruden said the organization “strongly condemns the apparent racial bias on the display in the video clip.”
“As a Virginia Beach officer stated, ‘you have the right to be upset,’ and indeed we are just that: quite upset,” wrote Hills Pruden.
Black Lives Matter 757 announced on Facebook plans to protest at Lynnhaven Mall on Monday.