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UPDATE: 6:50 PM EST:

University of Virginia President Theresa A. Sullivan has released a statement following the arrest of UVA honor student Martese Johnson.

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:

I write to express my deep concern about an incident that occurred on The Corner early this morning and to provide information about immediate steps that I have taken in response.

At about 12:45 a.m., one of our students was injured while Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) agents were attempting to take him into custody on the sidewalk in front of Trinity Irish Pub. University Police and Charlottesville Police arrived on the scene shortly after the incident occurred. We have not yet clarified all of the details surrounding this event, but we are seeking to do so as quickly as possible.

This morning I met with Charlottesville Police Chief Tim Longo and University Police Chief Mike Gibson in an effort to learn more about the incident. Furthermore, because ABC is a state agency, I contacted the Governor’s office to ask for an independent investigation of the incident. In response, the Governor has asked the Secretary of Public Safety to initiate an independent Virginia State Police investigation into the use of force in this matter.

As the investigation unfolds, eyewitnesses will play an essential role in shedding light on the details of this incident. I urge students and other members of our community who witnessed the incident or have other direct knowledge of it to come forward. Please contact the Virginia State Police at 1-800-552-0963 immediately.

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.

Teresa A. Sullivan
President

Marcus L. Martin — Vice President for Diversity & Equity and Professor of Emergency Medicine — and Maurice Apprey — Dean, African-American Affairs, Professor of Psychiatry — also released a statement condemning the use of force and the arrest.

We are outraged by the brutality against a University of Virginia undergraduate student that occurred in the early hours Wednesday, March 18, 2015. This African American male student was injured on the Corner, after being stopped by Virginia Department of Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) officers. His head was slammed into the hard pavement with excessive force. The student required medical evaluation and treatment at the UVa Hospital Emergency Department. This was wrong and should not have occurred. In the many years of our medical, professional and leadership roles at the University, we view the nature of this assault as highly unusual and appalling based on the information we have received.

This incident is now being handled at the highest level of the University and the State of Virginia. We have spoken with student leaders and are sensitive to the collective remorse and reactions of the University and community. We are asking everyone to exercise sound judgment and discretion, as we seek to protect the student’s rights and privacy. The Office for Diversity and Equity and the Office of African-American Affairs (OAAA) are available to provide support. This evening, the Office of African-American Affairs (OAAA) will be open until 8:00 pm to provide support. As we wait to learn more about what happened last night, please know you can call us to talk about this situation and your concerns.

Read their statement in its entirety, here.

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A black University of Virginia student was arrested and reportedly beaten in front of classmates by police over an ID discrepancy early Wednesday morning.

Witnesses say Martese Johnson, a third-year honor student and member of the historically black fraternity Kappa Alpha Psi, did not resist arrest when state Alcoholic Beverage Control agents approached him. The incident left him bruised and bloodied — the school paper, the Cavalier Daily, writes that the young man sustained a head wound that required 10 stitches.

The above picture — an image of Johnson bloodied and handcuffed — is circulating the internet along with an email penned by UVA’s “Concerned Black Students” that details Johnson’s experience and calls for a thorough investigation into the incident.

You can read the letter in its entirety below:

This morning Martese Johnson emerged with a head injury requiring 10 stitches.

He was brutalized by Virginia ABC law enforcement outside of Trinity Irish Pub. His face was bloodied. His body was bruised.

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.

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. We have marched and shouted that we are Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown, but the proximity of this morning’s brutality to a member of our community has deepened that wound. It is no longer happening only on national television—it is a reality here and now at the University of Virginia that we must face as a collective.

After Martese was denied entry to the bar, he found himself suddenly flung to the ground. The brutish force used resulted in his head and bodily injuries. His treatment was unprovoked as he did not resist questioning or arrest. In confusion, with blood painting his face and creating a pool on the bricks of the corner, he yelled out for mercy. Though he lay bleeding and crying out, officers continued to hold him to the pavement, pinning him down, twisting his arm, with knees to his back until he was handcuffed.

As students pleaded with officers to lift Martese from the ground they were pushed away, and some were even handcuffed and threatened with possible arrest if they did not leave the scene.

We demand there be a swift and thorough investigation on the state, local, and University levels. 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. We demand noise from each other, noise from professors, noise from administrators. Martese, like any other student at this university, like any other person in this country and in this world, deserves more than our uproar: he deserves follow through and intentional action.

Look forward to a follow up email regarding further plans and actions.

Sincerely,

Concerned Black Students

While UVA officials have yet to comment on the alleged beating, UVA Dean Allen Groves took to Twitter to announce that a statement would be released soon.

According to the Cavalier Daily, Johnson was “arrested on charges of resisting arrest, obstructing justice without threats of force, and profane swearing or intoxication in public.” The arresting officer, Alcohol and Beverage Control special agent J. Miller, said the young man “was very agitated and belligerent but [has] no previous criminal history,” the Cavalier writes.

Bryan Beaubrun, a fourth-year UVA student, told the student newspaper the police wrestled Johnson to the ground.

“Martese was talking to the bouncer and there was some discrepancy about his ID,” Beaubrun said. “[An] ABC officer approaches Martese and grabs him by the elbow…and pulls him to the side…I was shocked that it escalated that quickly. Eventually [he was] on the ground, they’re trying to put handcuffs on him and their knees were on his back.”

A video of Johnson’s arrest can be watched below. In the video, captured by bystanders, Johnson can be heard calling the police officer a racist as he’s being held down.

Johnson, who is expected to appear in court on March 26, was held on $1,500 bail and released Wednesday morning.

A march from campus to the police department will take place in Charlottesville at 8:00 p.m.

NewsOne has reached out to UVA officials and Charlottesville police for comment.

SOURCE: Cavalier Daily, Twitter

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