Virginia governor calls for investigation into black student's arrest
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) - Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe is calling for an investigation into the arrest of a college student who was shown in a photo with a bloody face as he was held down by an officer.
Charlottesville General District Court records show that Martese Johnson is charged on two counts: obstruction of justice without force, and public swearing or intoxication. The Alcoholic Beverage Control agent who made the arrest Wednesday morning, listed in court records as J. Miller, said in the arrest report that Johnson "was very agitated and belligerent."
A statement from a group calling itself "Concerned Black Students" claims the arrest of Johnson was unprovoked and extreme.
"The brutish force used resulted in his head and bodily injuries," the group said in a statement. "His treatment was unprovoked as he did not resist questioning or arrest."
Johnson did not immediately return an email seeking comment.
McAuliffe's office issued a statement asking state police to investigate "the use of force in this matter."
The ABC issued a statement saying that "uniformed ABC Agents observed and approached" an unidentified individual "after he was refused entry to a licensed establishment" around 12:45 a.m. at an area of bars and restaurants near campus known as "the corner."
The ABC said the unnamed individual received injuries while being arrested and was treated at a local hospital before being released.
A photograph provided to The Associated Press by a witness shows Johnson lying on the ground with blood streaming down his face. The Concerned Black Students group said Johnson required 10 stitches.
The ABC said the agents involved with the arrest are being restricted to administrative duties while a state police investigation is underway.
ABC agents in Charlottesville have been accused of heavy-handed actions in the past.
The state of Virginia reached a $212,500 settlement last year with a UVA student who was arrested after her purchase of water was mistaken for beer.
Elizabeth Daly fled in terror outside a Charlottesville supermarket in April 2013 when her vehicle was swarmed by state ABC agents who mistook her just-purchased carton of sparkling water for beer.
Daly was charged with eluding police and assaulting a police officer after her SUV grazed two of the agents. The arrest provoked a public outcry, and the charges were dropped.
The Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control issued the following statement in response to the governor's request Wednesday:
While monitoring licensed establishments on University Avenue in the City of Charlottesville, uniformed Virginia ABC special agents arrested a 20-year-old male early on the morning of March 18.
The individual was charged with Public Intoxication and Obstruction of Justice in an incident that occurred at approximately 12:45 a.m. on March 18 in the 1500 block of University Avenue. 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.
Governor McAuliffe has requested that Virginia State Police conduct an independent investigation into the circumstances of the arrest, including use of force. Virginia ABC will provide whatever information or assistance is requested by Virginia State Police.
Virginia ABC is restricting the special agents involved in the incident to administrative duties while the investigation is underway.