Black Univ. of Virginia students blast ‘animalistic’ arrest that left top student bloodied
Members of the University of Virginia’s Black Student Alliance (BSA) ripped state authorities after one of its officers suffered a head injury while being arrested early Wednesday morning, WTVR-TV reported.
The group released a statement describing 20-year-old Martese Johnson’s treatment by officers with the state department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) as “animalistic, insensitive, and brute,” and calling on authorities to look into the incident.
“We have seen what happens at the University when we allow problems we have long known exist to be handled quietly, so we will not be quiet,” the BSA’s statement read. “We demand noise from each other, noise from professors, noise from administrators.”
According to the university’s student newspaper, the Cavalier Daily, Johnson was arrested after a bouncer at a local bar refused to accept his ID.
“It happened so quickly,” a witness said. “Out of nowhere I saw the two officers wrestling Martese to the ground. I was shocked that it escalated that quickly. Eventually [Johnson was] on the ground, they’re trying to put handcuffs on him and their knees were on his back.”
The Daily also posted video showing Johnson bleeding profusely while laying face-down on the ground as ABC agents handcuff him. One agent can be seen telling Johnson, “Stop fighting,” but Johnson is not moving.
“I go to UVA,” Johnson says several times, before calling the agents “f*cking racists” and asking, “How does this happen?”
The Twitter account @UVAProblems also posted a picture of Johnson at the time of the arrest, with the caption, “I stand with Martese Johnson. There is no excuse for this.”
— UVAProblems (@UVAProbs) March 18, 2015
Johnson’s injury required 10 stiches. He was charged with resisting arrest, obstructing justice without threats of force, and profane swearing or intoxication and released later that morning. He is scheduled to appear in court on March 26 and faces a maximum fine of $250.
According to Jezebel, Johnson is not only the BSA’s leadership development chair, but a member of the school’s student governing body, the Honors Committee. A march protesting his treatment by the ABC is scheduled to be held on Wednesday night.
Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s (D) office said in a statement online that McAuliffe has asked state police to conduct an independent investigation into the incident.
Watch video of Johnson’s arrest, as posted by the Cavalier Daily, below.