03.18.2015 Statement Regarding the Arrest of UVA Student Martese Johnson
Williams Mullen has released the following statement by Daniel P. Watkins regarding his client, University of Virginia student Martese Johnson:
On March 18, 2015, Charlottesville Police charged 20-year old Martese Johnson with two misdemeanors: 1) obstruction of justice without force and 2) profane swearing and/or intoxication in public. The charges were filed after a Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) officer and local police confronted Mr. Johnson near “the Corner,” a popular off-campus social hub near the University of Virginia. Contrary to early police reports, Mr. Johnson has not been accused of possessing false identification.
“Just before handcuffing him, police took Martese to the ground, striking his head on the pavement and causing him to bleed profusely from the gash on his head,” Mr. Watkins said. “This morning he received ten stitches at the University of Virginia Medical Center. Fortunately, Martese’s physical wounds are beginning to heal.”
Mr. Johnson is a third-year student at the University of Virginia, double majoring in Italian and Media Studies. He holds numerous leadership positions on grounds, including Vice Chair for Community Relations of the Honor Committee, Vice Polemarch of the Eta Sigma Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi, and a Chair of the Leadership Development Committee of the Black Student Alliance. He has no criminal record.
“As evidenced by both his academic and extracurricular achievements, Martese is a smart young man with a bright future,” Mr. Watkins said. “I have spoken with him several times today, and he is absolutely devastated by yesterday’s events. Currently, we are preparing to investigate and defend this matter vigorously. Please keep Martese in your prayers during this difficult time.”
Mr. Johnson and his family ask that the media respect his privacy at this time and direct any further questions to his attorney, Daniel Watkins, with Williams Mullen. The investigation is still in its early stages, and Mr. Watkins and Williams Mullen are limited in what information can be shared with the media.