Prosecutors Decide Not to Charge UVa. Student After Violent Arrest

Prosecutors have decided not to continue to press charges against a University of Virginia student whose bloody arrest sparked a public uproar.

All charges have been dropped in the case of Martese Johnson, a UVa. student from Chicago whose arrest outside a Charlottesville bar on March 18 gained widespread attention. Photos and video showed Johnson pinned on the ground by an state Alcohol Beverage Control Department agent, his face bloodied.

He had been charged with public intoxication and obstruction of justice without force.

Johnson was "truly ecstatic" after hearing the charges had been lifted, according to Daniel Watkins, his lawyer.

"It has been our position all along that the Virginia ABC officers were not justified in their treatment of Mr. Johnson," Watkins said. "His future remains bright and he looks forward to moving on with his life now that this matter has been resolved."

Johnson's lawyers had argued ABC officers didn't have reasonable suspicion to stop him. Johnson's lawyer, Daniel P. Watkins, told The Associated Press in an email that Johnson was slammed to the ground without just cause.

Johnson is black and has called the police racist.

Charlottesville's Commonwealth Attorney now will ask a judge to set the charges aside. 

"In the Commonwealth's view, the interest of justice and the long term interest of the community are best served by taking these events as an opportunity to educate the public and foster constructive dialogue between ordinary citizens, law enforcement officers, and public officials concerning police and citizen relationships in a diverse community," the request from Commonwealth Attorney Dave Chapman reads, according to a report from NBC12 in Charlottesville.

NBC12 also reported that the ABC agents involved will not face criminal charges.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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