— UVAProblems (@UVAProbs) March 18, 2015
A black University of Virginia student was arrested and reportedly beaten in front of classmates by police after attempting to use a fake ID 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 officers approached him. The incident left him bruised and bloodied — the school paper, The Cavalier, 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.
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.
President Sullivan, I and others hear your concerns – action has been and is taking place. She will issue a statement later today
— Allen Groves (@UVADeanGroves) March 18, 2015
According to The Cavalier, 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 are awaiting comment.
SOURCE: The Cavalier, Twitter