#JusticeForMartese, Featured, Martese Johnson, News, Police Brutality -

Former UVA student Martese Johnson settles lawsuit after brutal arrest went viral

#JusticeForMartese, Featured, Martese Johnson, News, Police Brutality -

Former UVA student Martese Johnson settles lawsuit after brutal arrest went viral

Former University of Virginia student Martese Johnson and the Virginia Dept. of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) have reached a $249,950 settlement in the $3 million lawsuit Johnson filed after his brutal arrest in 2015.

According to a joint statement by lawyers posted to ABC’s website, both sides agreed to settle and avoid uncertainty of expensive and lengthy legal proceedings.

“In the parties’ and ABC’s view, the interests of justice and the long-term interests of the community are best served, not through continued and protracted litigation, but by taking the events as an opportunity to educate the public and foster constructive dialogue between ordinary citizens, law enforcement officers and public officials concerning police and citizen relationships in a diverse community,” the statement explains.

“Anyone with these experiences in a college town should rethink their policy of dealing with college students, some of whom will be underage and trying to buy alcohol and liquor, and some of whom are not underage,” said George Rutherglen, a UVa law professor who focuses on civil procedure. “[ABC doesn’t] want to turn this into an exercise of blaming and shaming; they want to turn this into a systematic examination of where are downfalls in routine procedures and how to address them.”

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Martese Johnson
University of Virginia student Martese Johnson (Photos/Twitter)

The Arrest

In March 2015, after being turned away from a bar on the Corner, Johnson was forced to the ground by an ABC officer and was both bruised and bloodied during the altercation. He was later charged with public intoxication and obstruction of justice, but those charges were eventually dismissed.

Initially, Johnson accused the three officers involved of false arrest, excessive force, gross negligence and assault and battery. He also accused the ABC and its law enforcement director, Shawn P. Walker, of failure to train and supervise the agents and Walker of negligent supervision of the agents. After a judge’s ruling the suit was altered and then allowed it to move forward with only enforcement agents Thomas Custer and Jared Miller as defendants.

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Dawn Eischen, a spokeswoman for the ABC, has confirmed that Custer no longer works for the department but that Miller still is employed there.

Prior to this settlement, the case was originally set for a two-week jury trial in October.

“The last thing a state agency or local police department wants is to be caught up in a case of abusive activity against a minority,” Rutherglen said. “In this kind of case, you can see why each side might agree to settle.”

Watch the viral video below (WARNING: Violence and explicit language):

The post Former UVA student Martese Johnson settles lawsuit after brutal arrest went viral appeared first on theGrio.


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