College Student Mistaken for Wanted Man and Held for 4 Days

Jawon Johnson was arrested and remained in custody in Maryland for almost four days before he was finally released. 

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Jawon Johnson

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Jawon Johnson was enjoying Thanksgiving break from West Virginia State University when he got pulled over Saturday night for a traffic violation in Harford County, Md.

At that point, Johnson’s vacation started to go downhill. In a case of mistaken identity, Johnson was taken into custody by the Baltimore police as a wanted man. He would remain in custody for the next few days, according to WBALTV.

How did this happen, and why did it take so long for the college freshman—who has never been in trouble—to be released? Well, that is still uncertain, the news station reports. 

“We share the same name, the same birth date. I mean, they showed me a picture of who the guy actually was. It wasn’t me, but they said they still had to hold me until the marshals came and got me,” Johnson told the news station.

That didn’t happen until Tuesday, when the record was finally straightened out in a federal court and Johnson was allowed to go home with his family. However, needless to say, his mother was not pleased with how long the process took.

“There’s a million and one people out here walking around with the same first and last name. ‘Johnson’ is a common name. I’m just not accepting you’re going to have him locked up, spending his Thanksgiving break, when he should be home visiting family and enjoying himself for Thanksgiving,” Johnson’s mother told WBALTV. Thankfully, her son is now home and will be able to celebrate the rest of the holiday with family.

A lawyer from the Federal Public Defender's office had finally gotten involved on Tuesday, which the news station said seemed to speed up the process. After the hearing, the lawyer reportedly said the situation was “incredibly disturbing.”

Watch video at WBALTV.

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