Allegations of police brutality against UVA student spark outrage

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WRIC) — Following the arrest of a 20-year-old black University of Virginia student outside a Charlottesville pub, Governor Terry McAullife joins numerous social media users who are “concerned” about the incident.

Third-year University of Virginia student Martese Johnson was arrested by Alcoholic Beverage Control agents after he was rejected entry from a bar on University Avenue, authorities said. The agents approached Johnson and then “a determination was made” to arrest him — during which time “the arrested individual sustained injuries,” according to the ABC agency.

Several Twitter users tweeted pictures of Johnson on the ground as cops arrested him, his face bloodied.

Cell phone video of the incident shows the student lying face down on the sidewalk with two agents detaining him as bystanders yell, “His head is bleeding!” From another angle, he is shown with his face bloodied, shouting, “I go to UVA!” and then “You f—ing racists!”

A group identifying themselves as “Concerned Black Students” sent an email to UVA students and staff, calling the officer’s handling of Johnson as “animalistic, insensitive, and brute.” The letter requests a “swift and thorough investigation on the state, local and university levels.”

Charlottesville General District Court records show that Martese Johnson is charged with obstruction of justice without force and public swearing or intoxication. The Alcoholic Beverage Control agent who made the arrest, listed in court records as J. Miller, said in the arrest report that Johnson “was very agitated and belligerent.”

A photo of Martese Johnson during Tuesday night’s arrest by ABC agents.
A photo of Martese Johnson during Tuesday night’s arrest by ABC agents.

A statement released by Virginia ABC stated that, “‘The uniformed ABC agents observed and approached the individual after he was refused entry to a licensed establishment. A determination was made by the agents to further detain the individual based on their observations and further questioning. In the course of an arrest being made, the arrested individual sustained injuries. The individual received treatment for his injuries at a local hospital and was released.”

Governor Terry McAuliffe’s office issued a statement about the incident, asking for Virginia State Police to investigate.

“The Governor’s office has been in contact with University of Virginia President Teresa Sullivan and local law enforcement and will continue to monitor this situation closely as the investigation proceeds.”

Martese Johnson attended a rally held to support him by University of Virginia students. His face was visibly bruised. (Photo courtesy: WSLS)
Martese Johnson attended a rally held to support him by University of Virginia students. His face was visibly bruised. (Photo courtesy: WSLS)

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