Protests have erupted on the campus of the University of Virginia after an undergraduate law student sustained a head injury from the police in the early hours of Wednesday that required ten stitches after the 20-year-old allegedly attempted to enter a bar.
The student, Martese Johnson, made a speech at one of the rallies on Wednesday night and Johnson seemed to be still very upset and shaken by what happened to him.
“I want the remainder of students out there to be able to share their opinions and share their feelings. I beg for you guys, regardless of your personal opinions and the way you feel about subjects, to please respect everyone here. We are all part of one community and we deserve to respect each other, especially in times like this. Thank you.”
The governor of Virginia Terry McAuliffe has since released a statement that says his office will investigate the matter to determine if “excessive force” was used by the arresting officers who were Alcoholic Beverage Control agents.
Here’s what a spokesperson said in a statement:
“Governor McAuliffe is concerned by the reports of this incident and has asked the Secretary of Public Safety to initiate an independent Virginia State Police investigation into the use of force in this matter.”
UVA University President Teresa Sullivan who was the one who initially requested the governor’s office’s investigation also sent out an email that read:
“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.”
The agents involved in the arrest claim they approached Johnson and when “a determination was made” to arrest him, it was during this attempted arrest that “the arrested individual sustained injuries.”
The cops charged Johnson with two misdemeanors including obstruction of justice without force and profane swearing and/or intoxication in public.
A scary video was made which shows Johnson, with blood all over his face, lying on the sidewalk while students around him shouted for police to notice how bad the bleeding was.
Martese Johnson has since hired an attorney to defend him against any and all charges.
That attorney Daniel Watkins released a statement on Wednesday that said:
“Just before handcuffing him, police took Martese to the ground, striking his head on the pavement and causing him to bleed profusely from the gash on his head. This morning he received ten stitches at the University of Virginia Medical Center. Fortunately, Martese’s physical wounds are beginning to heal. He holds numerous leadership positions on grounds, including Vice Chair for Community Relations of the Honor Committee, Vice Polemarch of the Eta Sigma Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi, and a Chair of the Leadership Development Committee of the Black Student Alliance. He has no criminal record.”
We hope these investigations show what really happened that night, and whether excessive force was used unnecessarily.
And if they do determine that excessive force was used — then we hope some serious punishments are handed down.
So ridiculously scary!!!
Check out the harrowing video of Johnson being arrested (below). However, be aware that this video does contain disturbing images and explicit language.
[Image via Charlottesville Police.]