Jamar Mackey received a positive coronavirus diagnosis on Christmas Eve, according to his partner Shantel Covil, who spoke with the local news outlet. He began exhibiting symptoms days after the Dec. 19 police encounter and tested for COVID-19 on Dec. 22.
Naturally, the couple is concerned about exposing their family, though Covil has tested negative, while monitoring her teen and infant son.
Covil believes that Mackey contracted the virus in the Lynnhaven Mall where he was approached and handcuffed by police.
“I’m very angry that they put my family at risk. Me and Jamar, that’s one thing but our kids, that’s what upsets me the most,” Covil said.
“Just talking about it, it makes me upset because I have an infant. And when he got his results, he cried because — I’m sorry Jamar, we sleep with our infant every night — I’m so sorry… He’s around the baby all the time, so you know infants can get COVID, so that’s the first thing we thought about,” she said.
Mackey is isolating at home under the care of his family while exhibiting mild symptoms such as a “low grade fever, a cough, and a sore throat.”
Mackey’s encounter with the police went viral after Covil shared a video of the incident on Facebook. The family was approached by officers in the mall food court as Mackey sat dumbfounded with his family. As officers failed to initially explain why Mackey was being apprehended, they later told Covil that Mackey fit the subscription of a suspect who was wanted for stealing a purse and purchasing items with a stolen credit card.
Frustrated, embarrassed and angry, Mackey launched into a discussion around law enforcement’s treatment of Black people in America and the ongoing Black Lives Matter movement.
Virginia Beach Police Chief Paul Neudigate later apologized for the encounter and promised to launch an investigation. However, Neudigate’s statement came after the police seemingly defended the officer’s actions.
While there is not a sure way to know how Mackey came into contact with COVID, the ramifications of being racially profiled have widespread effects.
Wishing the Mackey-Covil family health and mental peace during this trying time.