A Black student who attends the University of Virginia was reportedly viciously beaten early this morning by police. His crime—trying to get into a bar with an allegedly fake ID.
According to UVA’s student newspaper, the Cavalier Daily, Martese Johnson, a third-year student, was arrested at 4:21 a.m. on Mar. 18 in front of Trinity Irish Pub on the Corner, a popular strip with university students, visitors and locals.
According to the arresting officer, special agent J. Miller of Alcohol and Beverage Control, Johnson was belligerent and charged with “resisting arrest, obstructing justice without threats of force, and profane swearing or intoxication in public.”
Also mentioned in the report was that Johnson required 10 stitches from a wound he suffered while being arrested.
Not in the report, are claims from witnesses that Johnson was brutalized despite cooperating with the arresting officers.
According to reports, Johnson was asked by a bouncer to step aside after he was refused entry into Trinity Irish Pub. An ABC officer approached Johnson and soon after he was on the pavement and bloodied.
Reports the Cav Daily:
Fourth-year Education student Bryan Beaubrun, who said he witnessed the incident, said an ABC agent approached Johnson shortly after the bouncer at Trinity asked him to step aside after refusing to accept his ID.
“Martese was talking to the bouncer and there was some discrepancy about his ID,” Beaubrun said. “[An] ABC officer approaches Martese and grabs him by the elbow…and pulls him to the side.”
The arrest took place shortly thereafter, as Johnson was talking with a small group of ABC agents and Charlottesville police officers.
“It happened so quickly,” Beaubrun said. “Out of nowhere I saw the two officers wrestling Martese to the ground. I was shocked that it escalated that quickly. Eventually [he was] on the ground, they’re trying to put handcuffs on him and their knees were on his back.”
Bossip reports that witnesses were pleading for the officers to let Johnson get medical attention with some being handcuffed and threatened with arrest for not dispersing.
An e-mail from an organization called Black Dot signed by “Concerned Black Students” was circulated on campus, requesting an investigation by the school, city and state.
This morning, UVA President Teresa Sullivan requested that Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe open an independent investigation into the incident.
Johnson is a member of the Honor Committee and Kappa Alpha Psi. Needless to say he is in a tough predicament because not only is he likely a victim of police brutality, the use of a fake ID is not line with UVA’s Honor Code [Full Disclosure: the author of this story is a UVA graduate.].
Nevertheless, you can trust Johnson isn’t the only one who was likely underage and drinking to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. But he did happen to be a Black student at Mr. Jefferson’s University, where there is always a climate of racial animus aimed at its students of color.
See the full e-mail from Black Dot on the flip.