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Viciously beaten University of Virginia honor student Martese Johnson did not have a fake ID, attorney says

March 19, 2015

by Tyler Kingkade

The bloody arrest of University of Virginia student Martese Johnson all started when an employee for a local bar approached him on a sidewalk, Johnson’s attorney, Daniel Watkins, said in a press conference Thursday, March 19.

University of Virginia honor student Martese Johnson was viciously beaten by white police March 18. At the highly ranked school, average SAT scores regularly exceed 1300, and there are typically fewer than 1,500 African American students among the 21,000-member student body. Black students report feeling ostracized.

University of Virginia honor student Martese Johnson was viciously beaten by white police March 18. At the highly ranked school, average SAT scores regularly exceed 1300, and there are typically fewer than 1,500 African American students among the 21,000-member student body. Black students report feeling ostracized.

Watkins said his client was never in possession of a fake ID and was simply standing on the sidewalk when the bar employee walked up to him. The student’s subsequent arrest, which UVA officials have described as “brutal” and “highly unusual,” prompted Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe to order a state investigation Wednesday into the behavior of the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control agents who took Johnson into custody.

Johnson was standing near the Trinity Irish Pub around 12:30 a.m. Wednesday, Watkins said, when “an employee of the establishment approached him and asked for his license.”

The employee quizzed Johnson about his zip code, and Johnson provided his mother’s current zip code, Watkins said. The number is different from the one listed on his current Illinois license. Watkins said that at that point, Virginia ABC agents questioned Johnson about being in possession of false identification.

Johnson is originally from Chicago, where his mother still lives. He was never in possession of a fake ID, Watkins said.

The Virginia ABC agents then forced Johnson to the ground, where they handcuffed him while “his face and skull [were] bleeding and needing surgery, all of this over two alleged offenses,” Watkins said.

Virginia ABC declined to comment further about the incident to The Huffington Post on Thursday. Trinity Irish Pub told HuffPost it had no comment. Watkins declined to take questions Thursday.

“I’m shocked that my face was slammed into the brick pavement just across the street from where I go to school,” Johnson said in a statement, read by Watkins. As Johnson was on the ground, he added, “One thought raced through my mind: How could this happen? I still believe in our community. I know this community will support me during this time.”

UVA students marched on campus Wednesday night and Thursday in protest of what they believe was excessive force used by Virginia ABC agents. Johnson has asked for activists to remain civil in their protests.

Black students at prestigious schools are racially profiled

Former White House correspondent for Politico Joseph Williams reported for that the “attack against Johnson, a third-year student and member of the University of Virginia’s Honor Council, exposed long-standing racial tensions at arguably one of the country’s most prestigious universities. It also seemed to confirm what African American men have asserted for years: that racial profiling can happen to them just as easily on an affluent, predominantly white college campus as it does in hardscrabble Black neighborhoods.

Martese Johnson, before and after the beating

Martese Johnson, before and after the beating

“Johnson, who reportedly suffered head wounds that needed nearly a dozen stitches to close, was charged with resisting arrest, obstruction of justice, and drunk and disorderly conduct, yet he wasn’t charged for allegedly using counterfeit identification, according to local news reports. He was released on $1,500 bail the morning after his arrest.

“The incident happened just before 1 a.m. outside Trinity Irish Pub, a bar on the edge of Virginia’s Charlottesville campus. …

“’Martese was talking to the bouncer, and there was some discrepancy about his ID,’ student Bryan Beaubrun told the campus paper. ‘[An] ABC officer approaches Martese and grabs him by the elbow…and pulls him to the side.’

“Moments later, officers from both the Charlottesville and University of Virginia police departments arrived on the scene, and things quickly escalated, Beaubrun told the paper.

“’It happened so quickly. Out of nowhere I saw the two officers wrestling Martese to the ground. I was shocked that it escalated that quickly,’ he said. ‘Eventually [Johnson was] on the ground, they’re trying to put handcuffs on him, and their knees were on his back.’

“At some point during the altercation, Johnson suffered a head wound; bystanders took pictures and recorded the arrest on cell phone cameras. It didn’t take long for the images to appear on social media.

“Within hours of Johnson’s arrest, a coalition of African American students circulated an email accusing police and the ABC agent of unnecessary force and demanding action. They also organized a ‘teach-in’ and an on-campus march Wednesday evening to demonstrate their anger. …

“Johnson … urged demonstrators to use the incident as a rallying point for unity. ‘We’re all part of one community,’ he said. ‘And we deserve to respect each other, especially at times like this.’”

Tyler Kingkade, senior editor and reporter for the Huffington Post, where this story first appeared, can be reached on Twitter: @tylerkingkade. To Kingkade’s story, the Bay View has added excerpts from a story by Joseph Williams, former White House bureau chief for Politico, who can be reached at; and read his blog, The Big Picture.


14 thoughts on “Viciously beaten University of Virginia honor student Martese Johnson did not have a fake ID, attorney says

    1. indyjones23

      10 stitches, blood down his face, two full grown men kneeing his back into the ground, head hitting the ground. All for literally doing not a single thing wrong, If that’s not a beating then you have a warped perspective.

  1. Darnel

    So,…… Once again, not ten minutes after having an okay day doing stuff I enjoy with a friend I've known for years,.. I run into someone who's just "So Tired" of hearing "blacks saying that Black lives mattered" and complaining about "Every little thing" that happens to them by law enforcement.
    That in every case the black person was a thug or an Animal who somehow deserved being treated so roughly unto death by police who can give ANY EXCUSE to justify doing the damage.

    What about Martese Johnson?
    Not a thug,…slammed to the ground and handcuffed like a criminal for POSSIBLY having a fake ID?

    What we are being shown OVER AND OVER AGAIN is that it doesn't MATTER how law abiding we are – Law Enforcement is showing that they can snatch up ANY BLACK PERSON and we will always have people in society who blame the black person.

    So "don't commit any crime or criminal acts " falls flat in the situation of increasing cases where the person WASN'T COMMITING A CRIME.

  2. 1956richardgreene

    James i would love to beat the living hell out of you and it takes ten stitches to close your head wounds. Then you can tell me if the entire situation is being blown out of context! The police department protecting it's self while serving up Ass whippings.

      1. Richard

        John i get it your a red neck piece of Shit trolling an African American newspaper safe in mums basement bunker chained to the floor sound about right? Spouting off things you would never say to a persons face for you are quite aware of the consequence for doing so. Any way sugar tank I reside at 1854 International Blvd Oakland show up if you possess the testicular fortitude to do so, but of course you don't. No more emails sissy boy let's settle this and Mister Richard shall transform you into a real woman. Hardy har har John and Randy are the same person!

  3. John

    I can’t believe how retarded all of the black people are that fall for everybody’s out to get me bullshit. Fucktards

  4. Randy

    Why can’t you beleive how stupid most blacks are. Even the doctor that Michael Browns attorney hired said he couldn’t have had his hands up. Every retarded protestor is yelling it. They’re dumb as boxes of shit.

  5. milly

    I can't believe this! And I'm even more shocked by the comments I'm reading!! How can you be so ignorant and racist? It's 2015, I thought people would have wised up by now. Those police officers should go to jail. clarisse

    1. Richard

      So sorry Milly but online trolling is a perfect forum for bigoted cockroaches it emboldens the cretin miscreant who'd never under any circumstance utter negativities to a persons face for they are egregiously aware of ramifications, would be truculence directed toward them. In an extreme case it may lead to an instantaneous painful death. Yes I agree with you categorically these officers should have be arrested and jailed immediately and would have been if the victim to blatant pugnacity had blue eyes and blond hair. These (Piece) officers are precious little more than thugs with badges with arrogance to power has lead them to forsake a credo of employment which is to protect and serve the general public period! They are not by any means judge jury and immediate executioner it's solely the responsibility of our judicial system to remand sentence of incarceration/punishment under the auspice and association to severity of said crime committed end of story.

  6. clone website

    I read your and its give us really useful info and why student has not fake id because they are fully interested in study they never any work who has not related to study thanks for sharing .


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