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Thursday, March 19, 2015

Va. governor calls for investigation into arrest of black student

MORNING JOE, 3/19/15, 6:09 AM ET

Gov. Terry McAuliffe called for an independent investigation into the arrest of a University of Virginia student Wednesday, amid community outrage over the incident.
Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) arrested Martese Johnson, 20, around 12:45 a.m. Wednesday morning outside a local bar. According to Johnson’s lawyer, police took Martese – an African-American student – to the ground, striking his head on the pavement, causing significant bleeding. Johnson later received 10 stitches. 
A large group of students rallied against the arrest on Wednesday evening; Johnson’s arrest — and the graphic image of Johnson’s bloodied face that has been widely circulated on social media.

“This is not something that should ever happen. I don’t know why it happened; that’s why we need to have an investigation,” said University of Virginia President Teresa Sullivan at the rally, who earlier Wednesday appealed to the governor’s office to investigate the incident. Sullivan told NBC4’s David Culver: “I thought about how this poor man’s mother would feel when she saw that photo. Because I knew how it made me feel.”
Martese Johnson spoke briefly at the rally, requesting a respectful environment and thanking supporters. “We’re all part of one community,” he said to cheers. “We deserve to respect each other, especially in times like this.  Thank you.”
Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control stated in a statement Johnson was approached after being denied entry to a bar and later taken to the hospital to be treated for his injuries. They promised to cooperate in the state’s investigation.
Johnson was arrested by Alcohol and Beverage Control special agent J. Miller on charges of obstructing justice and profane swearing or intoxication in public. Miller wrote on the arrest warren that Johnson was “very agitated and belligerent.” The special agents involved in the incident will be limited to administration duties throughout the investigation. 
Johnson’s lawyer Daniel Watkins said Wednesday his team would be fighting the charges, describing Johnson as a model student: a double major in Italian and Media Studies with a number of leadership positions on campus and no criminal record. 
“As evidenced by both his academic and extracurricular achievements, Martese is a smart young man with a bright future,” Watkins said in a statement. “We are preparing to investigate and defend this matter vigorously. Please keep Martese in your prayers during this difficult time.”
Campus leaders balked at the arrest on Wednesday.
“We are outraged by the brutality against a University of Virginia undergraduate student that occurred in the early hours Wednesday, March 18, 2015,” wrote two members of UVA’s diversity leadership – Marcus L. Martin, M.D., a professor of emergency medicine, and Maurice Apprey, the dean of African-American Affairs and professor of psychiatry at the school – in a letter to students and staff

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