Martese Johnson Calls for Release of ABC Arrest Report
Martese Johnson, the man at the center of a controversial arrest by agents with Alcoholic Beverage Control, is leading the charge to have an administrative review made public.
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The man at the center of a controversial arrest by agents with Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) is leading the charge to have an administrative review made public.
University of Virginia student Martese Johnson was arrested outside Trinity Irish Pub in March by three ABC agents.
While the charges against Johnson were eventually dropped, the bloody encounter on University Avenue went viral and sparked a national outcry.
Monday, the ABC announced that the agents involved in Johnson’s arrest did not violate policy and have returned to active duty. The agency also said that it will not release its report to the public because it is considered a personnel matter.
The Virginia State Police (VSP), who did the investigation at the governor's request, are also refusing to release the report: VSP is claiming the report is exempt from any mandatory disclosure law.
Johnson is not surprised with the outcome of the administrative review, however he is frustrated it is being kept secret from the public.
"In order for law enforcement to have positive relationships as they can with the community, they have to be transparent and they have to prove that they are not hiding anything," Johnson said.
Johnson says not seeing the report hinders the ability to fully understand what happened that night.
"The fact of the matter is, in spite of the policies that they had not broken, there needs to be proactive steps to make positive change so something that happened to me doesn't happen to anyone else in the future," said Johnson.
The ABC says all agents went through a two-week training session this summer, covering topics like race-relations and use of force.
Martese Johnson is entering his fourth year at UVA, still overwhelmed by his experience and trying to move forward.
"I just want to get back to the normal way of life for my last year of college. You don't get college more than once, and so I want to experience it as any normal student does," the student said.
Johnson's attorney, Daniel Watkins, says their next step is to get the original charges expunged from his record. Watkins says they are still weighing all their legal options, including a potential civil lawsuit.