Allegations of police brutality against Virginia student spark outrage

Martese Johnson attended a rally held to support him by University of Virginia students. His face was visibly bruised. (Photo courtesy: WSLS)

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WRIC) — Following the arrest of a black male University of Virginia student outside a Charlottesville pub, Virginia Gov. Terry McAullife joined numerous social media users Wednesday who are “concerned” about the incident.

Several Twitter users tweeted a photo of University of Virginia student Martese Johnson pinned on the ground by officers, his face bloodied.

A group identifying themselves as “Concerned Black Students” sent an email to UVA students and staff, which reads in part:

“Outside of the doors of Trinity Irish Pub, a mass of University students bore witness to the officer’s animalistic, insensitive, and brute handling of Martese. He was left with his blood splattered on the pavement of University Avenue.”

The letter requests asks for a “swift and thorough investigation on the state, local and university levels.”

Charlottesville General District Court records show that Martese Johnson is charged with obstruction of justice without force and public swearing or intoxication. The Alcoholic Beverage Control agent who made the arrest, listed in court records as J. Miller, said in the arrest report that Johnson “was very agitated and belligerent.”

A statement released by Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control stated that,”‘The uniformed ABC agents observed and approached the individual after he was refused entry to a licensed establishment. A determination was made by the agents to further detain the individual based on their observations and further questioning.

“In the course of an arrest being made, the arrested individual sustained injuries. The individual received treatment for his injuries at a local hospital and was released.”

Gov. McAuliffe’s office issued a statement about the incident, asking for Virginia State Police to investigate:

“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.”

Students took part in a rally about the arrest at Clark Library Wednesday evening; Martese Johnson attended the event, his face visibly bruised. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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