Bloodied and confused, a young man named Martese Johnson is filmed screaming, “How did this happen!?” as he is held to the ground by officers during an arrest in Virginia. The confrontation started when policemen attempted to arrest Johnson for disorderly conduct involving public swearing/intoxication and obstructing justice after trying to enter a nearby pub. Johnson's lawyer states that the accusations are false.
Disturbing photos of the young man’s head bleeding profusely while officers hold him down with their knees and cuff him sparked protests around Virginia and on the campus of the University of Virginia, where Johnson was enrolled. The incident occurred on St. Patrick’s Day, a typical time of merriment and social interaction.
The 20-year old, 3rd year undergraduate student at UVA was drilled to the ground by alcohol control agents. Johnson was later transported to a hospital where he received 10 stitches as a result of the scuffle.
Protests led by the UVA Black Student Alliance drew a diverse crowd encompassing individuals from all ethnicities, speaking out against the violent video and occurrence. UVA’s president had this to say about the startling photos, “I felt it in my stomach. Seeing the blood run down that young man’s face”. Johnson had his own views to express during a rally last night. In an emotional state, he exclaimed, “We’re all part of one community and we deserve to respect each other, especially in times like this”.
Reports show that Johnson had no previous criminal activity on his record and was enrolled as an Italian and Media Studies major. He also held various leadership roles on campus and his peers held him in high regard. The mayor vows to look into the incident and analyze if any excessive or unnecessary force was used by the officers against Johnson. This story is developing.