Officials in Virginia have launched an investigation after images were posted on social media of a bloodied black student being detained by police.
Members of the University of Virginia Black Student Alliance identified the student as Martese Johnson, 20, and say that he was arrested by officers who claimed he was using a fake identity card as he tried to enter a bar amid St Patrick’s Day celebrations on Tuesday.
“Outside of the doors of Trinity Irish Pub, a mass of University students bore witness to the officer’s animalistic, insensitive, and brute handling of Martese. He was left with his blood splattered on the pavement of University Avenue,” said a statement issued by the alliance.
It added: “After Martese was denied entry to the bar, he found himself suddenly flung to the ground. The brutish force used resulted in his head and bodily injuries.”
The incident was caught on video, which shows Mr Johnson lying on the ground, shouting out that he is a student and accusing the officers of racism.
Charlottesville District Court records show that Mr Johnson, an honour student, was charged with obstruction and public intoxication in the early hours of Wednesday morning. He was released on bail.
Governor Terry McAuliffe is “concerned by the reports of this incident,” according to a local affiliate of CBS News. He has asked officials to carry out an independent inquiry into what happened.
One of these is from the CVille court web site. The other is allegedly an eyewitness photo. Something doesn't add up. pic.twitter.com/Oi4xxqy4ni— Phony Bennett (@IfTonyTweeted) March 18, 2015
“The Governor’s office has been in contact with University of Virginia President Teresa Sullivan and local law enforcement and will continue to monitor this situation closely as the investigation proceeds,” said spokesperson Brian Coy.
The black student’s group called for a swift probe. “We have seen what happens at the university when we allow problems we have long known exist to be handled quietly, so we will not be quiet,” said the statement.
Governor Terry McAuliffe has called for the state police to conduct an independent investigation into the use of force during the incident.Reuse content