On Saint Patrick’s Day, UVA student Martese Johnson found himself face down on the pavement with a gash on his forehead and cops with their knees on his back — just a few feet away from campus. The incident immediately sparked national outrage and rallies on his campus.
Now, Johnson and his family are ready to release a statement.
“I’m shocked that my face was slammed into the brick pavement just across the street from where I attend school,” Johnson said in a prepared statement read by his lawyer, Daniel Watkins. “Three officers then pinned me to the ground, pressing their knees in my back while blood flowed freely from the gash to my head. As the officers held me down, one thought raced through my mind: ‘How could this happen?’”
Johnson was attempting to enter Trinity Irish Pub on the Corner (a popular strip at UVA) when he was removed from the line due to a discrepancy with his ID. It was a valid, Chicago issued ID, but Johnson recited his mother’s new zip code instead of the old one that was on the card.
That discrepancy led to the bouncer asking him to get out of the line, at which point the Alcohol and Beverage Control (ABC) officers stepped in and accused him of having false identification. By the time the officers were done with him, Johnson required 10 stitches to close the wound on his forehead.
He was also charged with misdemeanor obstruction and profane swearing/public intoxication but had no prior arrest history.
Watch his full statement below.