Prosecutor Justifies Actions of Virginia ABC Officers in Martese Johnson Arrest | African-American News and Black History

ABC Officers Virginia State, martese johnson, Martese Johnson Assault, National, News, Virginia State Student -

Prosecutor Justifies Actions of Virginia ABC Officers in Martese Johnson Arrest

ABC Officers Virginia State, martese johnson, Martese Johnson Assault, National, News, Virginia State Student -

Prosecutor Justifies Actions of Virginia ABC Officers in Martese Johnson Arrest

Martese-Johnson-color-Flickr-user-Bob-MicalBy Nekala Alexander

After an incident with Alcoholic Beverage Control agents left University of Virginia student Martese Johnson pinned to the ground and bleeding from a head wound, a prosecutor stated that he found no evidence of excessive force or racism by the arresting officers.

On Wednesday, Dave Chapman, Charlottesville’s commonwealth attorney said the officers could have used stronger measures to counteract the “significant physical resistance” by Johnson but instead acted properly by handcuffing him.

Chapman said the officers had reasonable suspicion to question Johnson after the bar owner asked Johnson to leave. He claimed he would not have hesitated to charge the ABC officers had he believed the incident was malicious or racially motivated.

In March, Johnson was charged with public intoxication and resisting arrest following the encounter. Last Friday, the charges were dropped.

The encounter was captured on video and drew widespread attention. In the video, Johnson can be heard calling the agents racist. “That is powerful language directed at them and they don’t respond to it,” the prosecutor said.

But Chapman said he understood why Johnson reacted to the ABC officers in that manner. “My feeling is this gentleman is not doing anything wrong and he ends up on the ground with his head banged,” Chapman said.

During the investigation of the incident, police interviewed 52 people, including 15 who witnessed the arrest. According to Johnson, he claimed he did not know who was approaching him and he was scared. Others say the officers identified themselves and Johnson was resistant. A small group claimed the officers were being unjust.

After the two-hour press conference, Chapman outlined in detail the events that occurred that evening. Martese Johnson went into a bar at 20-years-old in Virginia, where the legal drinking age is 21, and after he could not properly identify the zip code on his ID he was asked to leave.

Chapman said that although Johnson resisted ABC officers when they approached him, he did not feel like the circumstances warranted charges. Chapman said, “It would have been poor use of my authority and discretion,” to prosecute Johnson.

After the meeting, Daniel Watkins, Johnson’s attorney, said in a written statement, “Our position is and always has been that police lacked justification to seize Mr. Johnson.”

 


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