A knife-wielding man is in custody after a violent encounter with a victim at a mall in downtown Charlottesville, Va., was caught on camera over the weekend.
According to NBC 29, the incident unfolded Friday, Dec. 28, just before 6 p.m. The footage, which quickly made its rounds on social media, shows an unidentified white man holding a Black man at knifepoint before forcing him to his knees in the middle of a sidewalk.
Many shocked shoppers pass by, yet no one stops to help the victim.
“Get down on the f–king ground!” the white man shouts with the knife still pressed to the Black man’s throat. “I’m not f–king playing with you … You want to kill my f–king family, you’re gonna f–kin’ die too.”
It’s not immediately clear what the man was referring to or what led to the violent encounter.
After several minutes, a bystander steps in to de-escalate the situation until Charlottesville Police arrive to arrest the knife-wielding suspect. A police report states the perp, identified as James Benjamin Jarrett, was taken into custody under an Emergency Custody Order for mental evaluation and charged with attempted malicious wounding.
As for Jarrett’s victim, he suffered a cut to the hand but no other serious injuries.
Video of the incident sparked outrage among social media users who couldn’t help but notice police officers’ restraint in taking down the suspect without lethal force, arguing that wouldn’t have been the case if the assailant had been of a different race.
“I’m not surprised that the police didn’t shoot him first!” a Twitter user wrote. “Maybe if he was holding a wallet they would have.”
“Look who didn’t get shot …” another opined.
Another user asked, “Where’s the ‘good guy with a gun’ we hear so much about?”
Jarrett’s mother, Darlene Byrd, has spoken out since the incident and says the system has failed her son, who reportedly suffers from schizophrenia and drug abuse. In an interview with NBC 29, Byrd said Jarrett has been in and out of hospitals for years and an overdose in September forced him to seek medical help.
Despite attempts to alert those working with Jarrett to his mental condition, Byrd said help from the state never came.
“I was just trying to get him help and keep me safe, you safe, people out shopping safe and my son,” she told the station, adding that her son’s ongoing addiction issues likely made his condition worse. “The pathetic and sad thing is that he’s safe now but he doesn’t deserve a malicious wounding charge.”
“He was very sick and didn’t get the help,” she added.
Jarrett has since been committed to Western State Hospital in Staunton, Va., a 190-year-old psychiatric facility. Charlottesville Police said additional charges are pending against the suspect
Watch more in the video below (courtesy of Twitter user @tomorrowtambien).