Violent arrest of black student prompts probe by US governor, stir racial tensions
by Anadolu Agency
NEW YORKMar 19, 2015 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Anadolu Agency
Mar 19, 2015 12:00 am
The governor of the state of Virginia on Thursday called for an investigation into the apparently violent arrest of a black university student.
Martese Jonson, a third-year student at the University of Virginia, was arrested outside a pub Wednesday by Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control agents, who are considered statewide law enforcement officers with authority to arrest.
A video and photos documenting the arrest showed Johnson covered in blood after sustaining a head injury and being flung to the ground.
The incident sparked a rally at the school, with hundreds of students protesting nationwide police brutality against blacks, according to student-run the Cavalier Daily.
Addressing protesters, Johnson, whose face was covered in stitches, urged supporters to show respect and thanked them for their support.
"This university opened me up," he said, as quoted by the news website. "You being here is the reason why I still believe in the community of trust even with a busted head standing here on this stage."
Gov. Terry McAuliffe expressed concerns about the reports and asked the state secretary of public safety to initiate an independent investigation into the use of force during the arrest.
According to court documents, Johnson is charged with "public intoxication and obstruction of justice."
Student group Black Dot also demanded a "swift and thorough investigation on the state, local, and university levels."
"Today, we are reminded of the gruesome reality that we are not immune to injustice; as university students, we are not impervious to the brutality that has reeled on news cycles around the country," the group said in a statement.