The University of Virginia student who was left with a gruesomely bloodied face over a possibly fake ID will not face prosecution on misdemeanor charges.
The student, Martese Johnson, who is black, fatefully encountered a Virginia Alcohol Beverage Control police officer just after midnight on March 18, 2015 after he had tried and failed to enter Trinity Irish Pub in Charlottesville.
The incident ended badly for Johnson, at the time a 20-year-old junior.
Police claimed Johnson became belligerent. The Alcohol Beverage Control officers on the scene then definitely became belligerent. They violently tossed Johnson to the ground, witnesses claim.
Video of the incident shows Johnson calling the cops “fucking racists.”
As a result of the police action, Johnson suffered serious injuries. He required 10 stitches.
A picture of the student being held down while blood streams down his face quickly went viral on the Internet.
A number of students told the University of Virginia’s student newspaper they believed police treated Johnson differently and violently because of his skin color. Some students noted that they cannot recall any white students getting brutally beaten over a fake ID. (RELATED: GESTAPO: Virginia Liquor Cops Beat Black Man)
Johnson originally faced charges for resisting arrest, obstructing justice, and profane swearing or intoxication in public.
However, following an independent criminal investigation, Charlottesville’s city attorney’s office has filed a request to drop all charges.
“The Commonwealth reached a conclusion that the interest of justice and the long term interest of the Charlottesville community are best served by using this case as an opportunity to engage ordinary citizens, law enforcement officers, and public officials in constructive dialogue concerning police and citizen relationships in a diverse community,” city of Charlottesville commonwealth attorney Dave Chapman wrote in a statement obtained by regional ABC affiliate WHSV.
Chapman also concluded that “the evidence did not warrant criminal charges against law enforcement officers who” participated in the beatdown of Johnson on March 18.
The city of Charlottesville is sponsoring a public presentation concerning the evidence in the case. That event will occur on June 17 at Charlottesville City Hall.
As recently as last month, Johnson was facing a September 30 trial on obstruction of justice and public intoxication — both misdemeanors.
The incident involving Johnson marks the second time in less than two years that the notorious Virginia Department of Alcohol Beverage Control has brutalized a student at the prestigious taxpayer-funded school and then, after worldwide embarrassment, seen the charges withdrawn.
In the summer of 2013, seven — seven — agents from the troubled division ambushed a female UVA student who made the mistake of walking to her car with bottled water, cookie dough and ice cream in a dark supermarket parking lot near campus.
The seven cunningly plain-clothed agents sprung aggressively into action, suspecting that the student, then-20-year-old Elizabeth Daly, was carrying a 12-pack of beer. She was actually carrying a sky-blue carton of LaCroix sparkling water. (RELATED: UVA Student Jailed For Possession Of Bottled Water, Ice Cream)
One of the high-strung cops vaulted onto the hood of Daly’s car. Daly contends that another drew a gun. A third tried to break her car windows, she said.
Daly, along with two roommates who were in the car, did what reasonable, unarmed people usually do when violently pounced upon by seven people. They tried to get away.
“They were showing unidentifiable badges after they approached us, but we became frightened, as they were not in anything close to a uniform,” Daly wrote in an account of the incident.
Daly spent a night and good part of the next day in jail.
Virginia’s division of Alcohol Beverage Control charged Daly with three felonies: one count of eluding police and two counts of assaulting a law enforcement officer.
All charges were later dropped and Daly ultimately received $212,000 in a lawsuit settlement.
Johnson does not appear to have filed a lawsuit. Yet.