An estimated 1,000 University of Virginia students assembled on Wednesday night to protest the arrest of black third-year student Martese Johnson, who was restrained on the ground and left bloody by Alcoholic Beverage Control agents at around 12:45 a.m. Wednesday after being turned away from a bar. Footage of Johnson’s arrest shows him shouting while being held down:
The Associated Press describes a fellow student’s account of the arrest:
Earlier Wednesday, UVA student Bryan Beaubrun said he was with Johnson and photographed the arrest.
Beaubrun said Johnson was trying to get into the Trinity Irish Pub when he was stopped by a bouncer. Then, an ABC officer grabbed Johnson by the arm and pulled him away from the bar to speak with a group of police officers, Beaubrun said.
After about a minute, Beaubrun said, Johnson asked the ABC officer to let go of his arm and tried pulling away from the officer. At that point, another ABC officer grabbed Johnson from behind and the two ABC officers wrestled Johnson to the ground, Beaubrun said.
He said Johnson hit his head on the ground when he was tackled and that police acted with unnecessary force.
“He didn’t need to be tackled. He wasn’t being aggressive at all,” Beaubrun said.
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe has reportedly asked the Virginia Secretary of Public Safety to launch a state police investigation of the arrest, and the UVA Cavalier Daily reports that school President Teresa Sullivan has also asked for a “state investigation” of the incident.
Johnson is a member of UVA’s student-run disciplinary Honor Committee.