WATCH: UVA Student Reportedly Bloodied During Arrest by Alcohol Agents
Video Purportedly Shows UVA Student Bloodied by Police on Campus
University of Virginia junior Martese Johnson was reportedly bloodied* during an arrest by agents from the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control, prompting an angry backlash from the UVa community and a call for an investigation from Governor Terry McAuliffe.
— UVAProblems (@UVAProbs) March 18, 2015
The incident reportedly occurred after Johnson was denied entry to a bar on St. Paddy’s Day. Virginia ABC agents detained him 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.”
On cell phone video of the incident, Johnson is seen being handcuffed on the ground while bystanders yell that his head is bleeding. “What the fuck?” Johnson is heard to scream. “How did this happen?” He goes on to call the officers racist.
Johnson required ten stitches.
The university’s Black Student Alliance quickly denounced Johnson’s treatment. “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,” the group said, per WTKR. Hundreds protested in U-Va’s amphitheater Wednesday night, invoking the shooting deaths of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown.
Johnson appeared at the rally. “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.”
McAuliffe called for an independent investigation, while the VABC said the agents involved had been put on administrative duty. U-Va president Theresa Sullivan said the video made her “sick to her stomach,” and pledged a full investigation of the incident.
Watch WTKR’s report below:
* The post originally described Johnson as having been “beaten” by the agents; it was updated to indicate the injury happened when his head struck the ground.
[Image via screengrab]
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