Witnesses say 20-year-old University of Virginia junior Martese Johnson was slammed to the ground during an arrest by agents from the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control in Charlottesville, Tuseday night.
Lawyers say Johnson was denied entry to a bar on St. Patrick’s Day before being detained by Virginia ABC agents for questioning.
Then, according to Johnson’s lawyer, “just before handcuffing him, police took Martese to the ground, striking his head on the pavement and causing him to bleed profusely from the gash on his head.”
Cell phone footage of the incident only shows Johnson being handcuffed while on the ground as bystanders yell that his head is bleeding. Witnesses corroborate however, lawyer claims that Johnson was forced unnecessarily to the ground.
“What the f***?” Johnson screams. “How did this happen? You racist!”
In a statement, UVA’s Black Student Alliance said,“today, we are reminded of the gruesome reality that we are not immune to injustice; as University students, we are not impervious to the brutality that has reeled on news cycles around the country.”
Johnson and hundreds protesters gathered in UVA’s amphitheater Wednesday night.
“Regardless of your personal opinions and the way you feel about subjects … please respect everyone here,” he said. “We are one community. We deserve to respect each other, especially in times like this.”
Gov. Terry McAuliffe has called for an independent investigation of the incident. The unidentified agents involved have been put on administrative duty. The university plans to launch an independent investigation as well.
Virginia ABC agents have released little information other than to say, “In the course of an arrest being made, the arrested individual sustained injuries.”
Johnson required ten stitches.
He is a third-year student double majoring in Italian and media studies. He has no criminal record.
Johnson’s court date has been set for March 26 for misdemeanor charges of obstruction of justice without force and public intoxication.
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