UVA Student Martese Johnson Files $3M Lawsuit
University of Virginia student Martese Johnson has filed a $3 million lawsuit against the state’s Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, NBC reports.
Johnson, an honors student, was thrown to the ground by liquor control agents and arrested in a bloody encounter on Mar. 18.
His detainment outside of Trinity Irish Pub near the campus sparked massive nation-wide outrage, and charges of public intoxication and obstruction of justice against Johnson were dropped.
“The agents’ brutal and unjustified attack on Martese has left Martese permanently disfigured as there is scarring to Martese’s forehead and scalp,” Johnson’s attorneys wrote in the lawsuit filed earlier this week.
Three agents involved in the arrest are also named — Jared Miller, Thomas Custer and John Cielakie — and the director of the department, Shawn Walker.
Prosecutors declined to charge the agents. The Virginia State Police launched an administrative investigation, and in August, the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control cleared the agents of any wrongdoing.
They have since returned to work.
Johnson, 20, a UVA junior at the time, was arrested after being refused entry into the bar after an issue with his identification. The department said Johnson was “agitated and belligerent.”
The lawsuit accuses the officers of violating Johnson’s civil rights, conducting a false arrest, and using excessive force, among other allegations.
The Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control declined to comment on pending litigation Tuesday.
Gov. Terry McAuliffe ordered a review of training after the violent arrest. In August, the department said that it completed the additional mandated training “in areas of use of force, cultural diversity, effective interaction with youth and community policing.”
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