State police complete report of U.Va student Martese Johnson’s controversial arrest
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — The Virginia State Police investigation into the controversial arrest of University of Virginia student Martese Johnson has been handed over to Charlottesville’s Commonwealth Attorney Dave Chapman.
The third-year student was arrested in March by agents of the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. He was bloodied during the St. Patrick’s Day incident outside the Trinity Irish Pub, located near the college.
The arrest sparked outrage from lawmakers and students because video showed Johnson bleeding from a head injury during his arrest. The incident prompted Gov. Terry McAuliffe to order immediate training for ABC agent, amid calls to end their authority.
The establishment released a statement saying that Johnson did not appear to be intoxicated at the time he attempted to enter. And the U.Va vice -president, in an interview with Anderson Cooper, said the breathalyzer did not indicate Johnson was intoxicated.
Defense attorney Daniel Watkins explained that Johnson presented a valid Illinois state identification card issued in 2011, as he attempted entry into the establishment. When the student was quizzed on the ZIP code, Watkins said Johnson recited the current ZIP code at his mother’s Chicago city address, which is different from the Chicago city ZIP code on the identification card that was printed almost four years ago.
“At no time throughout the encounter did Martese present, as has been reported by some in the media, a fake ID,” said Watkins. “Nevertheless, Virginia ABC officers who were present on the scene questioned my client about being in possession of false identification.”
“The conversation resulted in my client being thrown to the ground, his head hitting the pavement, the officer’s knees pressed into his back, his face and skull bleeding and needing surgery,” Watkins added. “All this over two alleged offenses, one a misdemeanor charge of Obstruction of Justice without force and two, Profane Swearing and/or Public Intoxication — which upon conviction requires only the payment of a fine.”
Much of the student community rallied around Martese, an honor student raised on the southside of Chicago by a single mother, who is at the university on a full scholarship based on financial need.
The next court hearing is scheduled for May 28. Whether or not there is a trial will depend on the current state police investigation.
Depend on CBS 6 and WTVR.com for updates on this developing story.