After much public outcry on campus and online, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe has called an investigation into the arrest of a University of Virginia student who was reportedly beaten by a Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control agent during an early morning incident.
The school's paper, The Cavalier Daily, is reporting that third-year student Martese Johnson was arrested at 4:21 a.m. on Wednesday (Mar. 18) outside of the Trinity Irish Pub and charged with resisting arrest, obstructing justice without threats of force and profane swearing or intoxication in public.
A video that appears to document the arrest was also posted, which shows Johnson on the ground, surrounded by numerous officers, as multiple other students walk by.
"I go to UVA you f--king racist," Johnson, who is black, shouted at the white officer. "How did this happen?"
A photo of Johnson on the ground has also circulated online. In it, he is visibly bleeding; The Cavalier Daily is reporting that he needed ten stitches.
“Martese was talking to the bouncer and there was some discrepancy about his ID,” Bryan Beaubrun, who says he witnessed the event, told the paper. “[An] ABC officer approaches Martese and grabs him by the elbow...and pulls him to the side.”
From there, he says Johnson was talking with both ABC agents and Charlottesville police officers.
“It happened so quickly,” Beaubrun said. “Out of nowhere I saw the two officers wrestling Martese to the ground. 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.”
University Police Department Lieutenant Melissa Fielding said that, in addition to ABC, the UPB and Charlottesville Police Department arrived at the scene.
“UPD and CPD were called to assist with a physical disorder on University Avenue by a Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control Agent,” she told The Cavalier Daily. “When UPD officers arrived on scene, the ABC Agent had an individual in custody and UPD assisted CPD in securing the scene.”
The reaction on campus among fellow students has already begun.
"We demand there be a swift and thorough investigation on the state, local, and University levels," the UVA Black Student Alliance wrote in a lengthy statement on Facebook, noting that Johnson is their Leadership Development Chair. "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."
The state's Governor, Terry McAuliffe, announced Wednesday afternoon that he has requested an independent state police investigation of the incident.
Gov. McAuliffe has requested an independent State Police investigation of ABC arrest last night in Cville in which a student was injured.— Terry McAuliffe (@GovernorVA) March 18, 2015
In addition to a planned protest tonight at 8 p.m., many have taken to Twitter to discuss the incident.
Martese Johnson is a student leader & a role model to everyone, white or black. Yet he was degraded to an animal last night. No one is safe— Cassie Ardern (@mkay_cassie) March 18, 2015
@UVA So stunned and horrified by photos of Martese Johnson. What steps is the University taking to investigate?— Corolla Girl (@Corollagirl196) March 18, 2015
MTV News reached out to the University of Virginia and the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, but had not heard back as of press time.
Stay with us as more details become available.