Martese Johnson files $3M lawsuit against liquor agents over bloody arrest

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A University of Virginia student has filed a $3 million lawsuit against the state liquor agents involved in his bloody arrest.

Martese Johnson filed the complaint Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Charlottesville. It alleges unlawful detention and excessive use of force by three Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control agents.

Video and photos of Johnson being pinned to the sidewalk by ABC agents were widely distributed on social media. Johnson, who is black, could be heard on the video calling the officers racist. He was bleeding from a gash in his head.

No charges were filed against the officers, and charges against Johnson were dropped.

Defendants in the lawsuit are the ABC, its director and the agents.

The state attorney general’s office did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment.


This story has been corrected to show the defendants include ABC director and three agents.

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