Martese Johnson, the Black University of Virginia student that was roughed up and beaten bloody by white officers outside a bar, will not face misdemeanor charges related to the case. The 20-year-old Johnson was wrongly arrested for being drunk, although it was later discovered he didn’t have anything to drink and that the arresting officers knew this.
The Roanoke Times reports that charges of public intoxication and obstruction of justice against Johnson were dropped after Charlottesville General District Judge Robert Downer ruled in favor of the third-year honor student. Officers from the Virginia Beverage Control were overzealous in their arrest of Johnson last March, and accused the man of using a fake ID. Johnson spoke to media after the hearing, and hopes the incident brings about change in how such matters are handled.
From the Roanoke Times:
Charlottesville prosecutors filed a motion Thursday stating they intended to drop the charges of public intoxication and obstruction of justice because “upon review of the evidence … the interest of justice is not served by further prosecution of [Johnson] in relation to the events of March 18.”
As distressing as those March 18 events are, in which Johnson was thrown to the pavement during a questionable arrest by ABC agents who suspected he was using a fake ID at a Corner bar, Johnson said Friday that he was “happy it happened.”
“It was a large moment of injustice … but I think that injustice is going to fill something that’s so much more beautiful and so much more powerful,” Johnson said.
Johnson added that while he believes his race was a factor in the race, he also cited that the nature of policing in America in recent times was also at the root of his confrontation with the ABC officers. Johnson also graciously said that charges against the officers was not he or his legal team’s aim at the moment.
But an investigation by the ABC agency is ongoing and disciplinary procedures may take place against the officers, both of whom are on administrative leave.
Johnson’s legal team is remaining mum on whether or not they’ll pursue a civil suit in the matter.