University of Virginia student Martese Johnson (second left) and his lawyer, Daniel Watkins (right), walk to the Charlottesville District Court in Virginia before Johnson’s hearing March 26, 2015.
Zach Gibson/Getty Images

University of Virginia student Martese Johnson was charged with public intoxication even though the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control agents who detained the 20-year-old in a brutal and bloody arrest in March didn’t think he was drunk, the Richmond Free Press reports. The officers in their statements noted that they did believe that Johnson might have been using a false ID.

The Virginia State Police have given a detailed report on the incident to the Charlottesville Commonwealth’s Attorney Dave Chapman, who is studying it but has not yet made it public, according to the Free Press. Johnson’s attorney, Daniel Watkins, has yet to see the report but hopes to do so before Johnson makes his court appearance later this month.

“We have already reviewed the reports from the arresting ABC agents and the local police on the scene, and our position remains that the [agents] lacked legal justification to arrest or brutalize young Martese,” a statement from Watkins’ law firm read, according to the news site.

Johnson’s case drew nationwide attention when he was arrested by ABC agents while he was trying to get into a bar in the early morning after St. Patrick’s Day and was slammed into a sidewalk, causing a head injury that left his face bloody and required 10 stitches.


Johnson was charged with public intoxication and obstruction of justice without force. However, witnesses said that Johnson was compliant with officers and even showed them his ID before he was accosted. Video of the incident showed the young man screaming that he was a student at UVA, but Johnson never appeared to try to physically engage the officers.

Read more at the Richmond Free Press.