Push to Drop Charges Against UVA Student Martese Johnson

Posted: Updated: Jun 05, 2015 04:57 PM

The attorney for the University of Virginia student involved in a bloody arrest wants the case thrown out.

NBC29 has also learned one of the officers involved in Martese Johnson's arrest was also involved in another UVA student's controversial arrest.

Johnson's attorney, Daniel Watkins, filed a motion in Charlottesville General District Court on Friday. The five-page motion says Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) officers lacked reasonable suspicion to make the arrest.

The court documents also reveal new details about what happened before Johnson ended up on the ground.

Watkins says one of the ABC agents grabbed Johnson's elbow as he walked away. Johnson pulled his arm away and that's when two agents slammed him to the ground. His arrest was captured by a witness and sparked controversy. The cut on his head required 10 stitches.

"The commonwealth has asked for more time to make their decision, and so it's our position - and always has been our position - that the police lacked justification to arrest Mr. Johnson and we'd like to get before a judge and have the issue litigated," Watkins said.

Johnson is facing two charges from the incident. A court date for this motion has not been scheduled.

Attorney Watkins says one of the officers involved in his client's arrest on UVA's Corner in March was also at the heart of Elizabeth Daly's arrest.

ABC agents converged on Daly as she was leaving a Charlottesville Harris Teeter in April 2013. The agents thought the sparkling water she had was alcohol.

John Cielakie is one of the three ABC agents seen in cellphone video of Johnson's arrest. NBC29 could not verify which agent is Cielakie, although the ABC says he began work there in august 2012.

According to the civil lawsuit filed in Daly's case - which was later settled - Cielakie attempted to break the passenger window with his steel flashlight causing a loud bang. It was at that point, the lawsuit claims, Daly feared for her life.

"The Charlottesville field office is relatively small, and so it's not surprising there's an overlap in ABC officers involved in enforcing the law," Watkins said.

Martese Johnson is scheduled to go before a judge Thursday, May 28, for a status hearing.

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