— UVAProbs (@UVAProbs) March 18, 2015
State law enforcement officers charged University of Virginia honor student Martese Johnson—whose bloody arrest was captured on viral video in March—with public intoxication even though they knew he was not drunk, his lawyer tells the Richmond Free Press.
Instead, agents with the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control believed Johnson might have been using a fake ID, his lawyer, Daniel Watkins of the Williams Mullen law firm based in Richmond, Va., tells the news outlet.
A statement issued to the newspaper by Mr. Watkins’ law firm states: “We have already reviewed the reports from the arresting ABC agents and the local police on the scene, and our position remains that the (agents) lacked legal justification to arrest or brutalize young Martese.”
A State Police report has been completed on the March 18 arrest of the 20-year-old African-American third-year student from Chicago that riveted the nation, sparking protests much like last month’s arrest of Freddie Gray, 25, who died after he was injured in police custody.
Johnson was charged with public intoxication and obstruction of justice after state agents arrested him near popular campus hangout, The Trinity Irish Bar. Photos of his bloody face were disseminated across the nation.
Both Johnson and Gray highlight persistent frictions between law enforcement and Blacks in cities around the country and have sparked ongoing protests that underscore the need for criminal justice reforms.
The findings in the UVA incident have been handed over to Dave Chapman, the Charlottesville commonwealth’s attorney, the report says. Watkins tells the Free Press that he expects to review the file before Johnson’s court hearing on May 28.
Per the Richmond Free Press:
The governor also ordered changes in training, policy and procedures governing ABC agents, whose reputation has been tarnished by repeated allegations of brutality. And he set up a commission to consider ABC police operations.
According to Williams Mullen, the state police report runs several hundred pages and includes several hours of interviews, including one with Mr. Johnson on March 26.
The report also contains the statements of the ABC agents involved in the early morning arrest and from University of Virginia and Charlottesville police officers.
We hope that Johnson receives justice in a case that is emblematic of the state of Black affairs in America’s fractured criminal justice system.
SOURCE: The Richmond Free Press | PHOTO CREDIT: Twitter
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