Attorney for UVA Student Martese Johnson Holds Press Conference
Attorney Daniel Watkins held a press conference Thursday afternoon on Charlottesville's Downtown Mall with Johnson and his mother, who flew in from Chicago.
Johnson is facing charges of obstruction of justice without force and profane swearing and/or public intoxication. Both charges would only result in a fine if he's convicted, but Watkins says they plan to fight them regardless.
Watkins says Johnson was originally questioned by ABC officers outside of Trinity Irish Pub about having a fake ID. But he says Johnson's license was perfectly legal. "Martese presented a valid Illinois state identification card, issued in 2011."
The attorney says he will work to help clear the name of a man he says is innocent. "Martese has worked hard to ensure his bright future, and we intend to fight the criminal charges against him with the utmost vigor.”
Watkins added that UVA stands behind Johnson, saying, "President Sullivan expressed her remorse regarding this terrible situation, and told Martese he has her support."
Watkins then read a statement Johnson had written: "I trust that the scars on my face and head will one day heal, but the trauma from what the ABC officers did yesterday will stay with me forever."
The attorney says Johnson has endured what no student ever should, but he still has a positive outlook for the future. "We cannot allow the actions of a few officers to ruin the community of trust we worked so hard to build."
Charlottesville's Commonwealth Attorney Dave Chapman met with Watkins, Johnson and his mother shortly before the press conference. Chapman is heading a criminal investigation into Johnson's arrest.