US student hurt by police

2015-03-20 22:33
The Trinity Irish Pub is shown in Charlottsville, Virginia, where Martese Johnson is the student whose face was bloodied during his arrest outside the pub. (Zach Gibson, AFP)

The Trinity Irish Pub is shown in Charlottsville, Virginia, where Martese Johnson is the student whose face was bloodied during his arrest outside the pub. (Zach Gibson, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Washington - The violent arrest of a black student trying to enter a bar in Virginia has prompted a probe and fuelled yet more US debate on how white authorities treat black youths.

Martese Johnson, 20, a student at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, was denied entry to an Irish pub early on Wednesday near the end of St Patrick's Day celebrations.

White officers from the state's Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control then slammed him to the ground, leaving him with blood streaming down his face and stitches.

Photos of Johnson bleeding and footage of the arrest, showing officers holding him to the ground, spread quickly on social media.

Up to 300 people gathered at the university for a protest rally on Wednesday night. Students chanted and held a candle-light vigil.

"I'm shocked that my face was slammed into the brick pavement just across the street from where I attend school," Johnson said through his attorney Daniel Watkins at a news conference Thursday, The Washington Post reported.

"As the officers held me down, one thought raced through my mind: 'How could this happen?'" the student said standing next to his lawyer, the cuts clearly visible on his face.

Police charged Johnson with profane swearing and/or public intoxication and obstruction of justice without force.

Virginia State Police pledged to carry out an investigation into the arrest.

"Getting arrested shouldn't involve getting stitches," university president Teresa Sullivan told the Post.

Lawyer Watkins said the incident stemmed from a misunderstanding about the ID Johnson used to try to get into the bar, but that the student did not attempt to use a false one.

After Johnson was turned away from the bar, Virginia ABC officers questioned Johnson about the ID issue, Watkins said.

This exchange led to Johnson "being thrown to the ground... his face and skull bleeding and needing surgery," the Post reported.

At Wednesday night's protest rally Johnson spoke briefly and asked protesters "to please respect everyone here”.

"We're all part of one community. We deserve to respect each other, especially at times like this," Johnson said.

Read more on:    us  |  racism

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.