CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) -
University of Virginia student Martese Johnson, whose arrest by agents with the Alcoholic Beverage Control has sparked protests and a State Police investigation, headed to court in Charlottesville.
Twenty-year-old Johnson appeared in General District Court shortly after 10 a.m. Thursday to face charges of public intoxication or swearing and obstruction of justice.
"We have an interview with a Virginia State Police officer later this afternoon and our position remains the same; we don't hold court in the streets, we hold court in the courthouses. They're very well-defined, legal processes, and that's what we're taking part in now," said Daniel Watkins, Johnson's attorney.
Johnson had lots of friends and supporters on hand; they were in court for the hearing, and then stood in quiet solidarity outside the courthouse afterward.
Martese Johnson's arrest March 18 outside Trinity Irish Pub on the UVA Corner has drawn wide attention because images of him with a bloody face spread quickly on social media.
Governor Terry McAuliffe has ordered a Virginia State Police investigation of the incident. The governor also signed an executive order Wednesday requiring more training for ABC agents. The training would include lessons in cultural diversity.
Johnson is tentatively scheduled to be back in General District Court on May 28. However, that date could change depending on when the investigation by the VSP wraps up.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.
Media release from Williams Mullen:
Richmond, VA (March 25, 2015) - Williams Mullen attorney Daniel Watkins, who is representing 20-year-old University of Virginia student Martese Johnson following his injuries during an arrest by special agents of the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, released the following response to Gov. Terry McAuliffe's signing of an Executive Order to change ABC enforcement training and procedures:
"The measures the Governor has taken in the executive order today illustrate that we all share a common belief: it is important for all law enforcement agencies to act within the bounds of the law. Increased training, transparency, and accountability are good for law enforcement as well as the communities they serve. We will continue taking part in the legal process and cooperating with the Governor's investigation to ensure that justice is served."
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