"I trust that the scars on my face and head will heal but the trauma from what the ABC officers did will stay with me forever," – Martese Johnson
Hopefully by now you have all heard of the incident Martese Johnson has had to endure. Johnson, who is a 20-year-old third year student at the University of Virginia in Charlotte majoring in Italian and Media Studies, a member of the honor committee, and a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc., was arrested Wednesday morning outside of an Irish pub. It was alleged that Johnson was accused of having a fake ID and was denied entrance into the bar.
No one knows for sure of the events that lead up to Johnson’s bloody tackle to the ground by the Virginia Department of Alcohol Beverage Control, but there is footage of the aftermath. On the video Martese Johnson can be heard stating that he is a student a UVA. It is also audible that a bystander is trying to telling officials that Martese was hurt and bleeding from the head. According to Johnson’s lawyer, Daniel P. Watkins, he needed 10 stitches.
It appears in court records that Johnson was arrested on two misdemeanor charges of obstructing justice without force, and public swearing and intoxication (although a breathalyzer was done and held no indication that he was intoxicated). Johnson has no previous record. He is expected to appear in court on March 26. As for the two agents involved in the arrest, Virginia ABC told BuzzFeed News they “have been assigned administrative duties during the review.”
On Wednesday night a meeting was held in UVA’s amphitheater by the university’s Black Student Alliance. The BSA wanted students to “express your feelings and concerns about this and your own experiences.” The incident went viral Wednesday afternoon with dozens of people writing using the hashtags #JusticeForMartese, #MarteseJohnson and #BlackLivesMatter on social media.
Governor Terry McAuliffe of Virginia has ordered the Virginia State Police to investigate this attack on Martese by the Alcoholic Beverage Control agents. Governor McAuliffe’s office released this statement in regards to the case.
"Governor McAuliffe is concerned by the reports of this incident and has asked the Secretary of Public Safety to initiate an independent Virginia State Police investigation into the use of force in this matter. 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."
University of Virginia President Teresa Sullivan released a letter for the campus community. Sullivan stresses unity during this time of injustice.
"The safety and security of our students will always be my primary concern, and every member of our community should feel safe from the threat of bodily harm and other forms of violence. Today, as U.Va. students, faculty, and staff who share a set of deeply held values, we stand unified in our commitment to seeking the truth about this incident. And we stand united in our belief that equal treatment and equal justice are among our fundamental rights under the law."
**Story will be updated as more information is released.
WRITTEN BY: VIOLA CONSTANCE | @Voila_its_Viola