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Man claims racial profiling after throwing ‘peace sign’

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DINWIDDIE COUNTY, Va. (WTVR) – Dinwiddie County resident, Jose Vargas, Jr. just earned his criminal justice degree to become a police officer.

“I feel proud. It's something I've wanted to do since a little kid,” he said.

But Vargas' excitement turned to anguish Friday after he said he was racially profiled at the Dinwiddie County Fair.

It started, Vargas said, when he flashed a "peace sign" while he and a friend posed for a picture at the fair. He said 10 minutes later, an undercover officer from the Department of Juvenile Justice and a Dinwiddie Deputy accused him of making gang symbols.

“We've been watching you all night,” Vargas said the deputy told him.

Vargas said he thought it was a joke.

Vargas said he told the deputy he'd just finished an internship with the sheriff's office. Vargas told CBS 6 he interned at the sheriff's office five months ago.

Vargas said he told the deputy he knew Dinwiddie Sheriff Duck Adams and others in the office.

“But the deputy said ‘I don't care who you know,’” Vargas said.

Vargas said he felt humiliated and was racially profiled. 

“I said to the deputy 'Is it the color of my skin or the way I`m dressed?” Vargas told CBS 6.

He said the deputy did not respond.

"That`s my reputation. I've been discriminated. That`s racial profiling,” he said.

Dinwiddie Sheriff Duck Adams released the following statement to CBS 6:

I have investigated the matter, and have found no wrongdoing with the officer involved. I go out of my way to teach my officers to treat everyone equally under the eyes of the law. If my deputy caused him any embarrassment, then I apologize for that. I'm just trying to keep the citizens safe.