Martese Johnson, the Black University of Virginia student that was allegedly beaten approached by cops and beaten over what they assumed was a fake ID card, was wrongly arrested for public intoxication. In new details, it has been revealed that the officers who cornered him knew that he hadn’t been drinking yet charged him with the crime anyway.
A report from the Virginia State Police has been compiled and handed over to Dave Chapman, the Charlottesville commonwealth’s attorney but has not been made public. However, Johnson’s attorney Daniel Watkins has reviewed the arrest reports from the ABC agents at the center of the ongoing controversy. The Richmond Free Press reported on these latest developments, which included statements from Watkins’ office.
More from the Richmond Free Press:
Mr. Johnson’s attorney, Daniel Watkins of the Williams Mullen law firm based in Richmond, has yet to see the State Police report, but expects to be able to do so before Mr. Johnson’s court hearing in late May.
A statement issued by Mr. Watkins’ law firm states: “We have already reviewed the reports from the arresting ABC agents and the local police on the scene, and our position remains that the (agents) lacked legal justification to arrest or brutalize young Martese.”
The case grabbed headlines after Mr. Johnson was injured by white Alcoholic Beverage Control agents during his arrest outside a pub in downtown Charlottesville.
Johnson, a 20-year-old, third-year honor student from Chicago, was arrested on March 18 in the early morning hours attempting to enter the Trinity Irish Pub near his school’s campus. While in line, Johnson made the mistake of saying the wrong zip code to a security doorman and was ordered out of line.
Alcohol and Beverage Control officers approached Johnson, which witnesses say he was cooperative. For some reason, the officers, slammed Johnson to the ground and opened up a wound that needed 10 stitches.
Johnson is due in court on May 28 but the Commonwealth’s Attorney could decide to drop charges based on findings in the report.
Photo: WGN Screen Cap