Lawyer: Martese Johnson to plead not guilty to charges in bloody arrest

Several fundraising efforts have been started in support of Johnson

(WRIC) – The lawyer of University of Virginia student Martese Johnson said Monday that the third-year student will plead not guilty to charges stemming from his bloody arrest outside a Charlottesville restaurant last week.

The statement provided an update on Johnson’s condition, noting that he was not admitted to the hospital following the arrest and is at home recovering.

Johnson’s lawyer Daniel Watkins met with Allen Groves, Dean of Students at UVA; Dr. Marcus Martin, UVA Vice President and Chief Officer for Diversity; Kevin Badke, the owner of the Trinity Irish Pub, and his lawyer on Monday.

“They all have said the same thing,” the statement reads. “Moments prior to what the now viral video presents, Martese was polite and well-mannered.”

Johnson will appear in court on Thursday at 10 a.m. to face charges stemming from his arrest. His lawyers says he plan to enter a not guilty plea. Both Johnson and his lawyer will refrain from any media interviews as they prepare for the hearing.

The Commonwealth’s Attorney has asked that the case be continued until the last week of May, according to Johnson’s lawyer. After Virginia State Police complete their investigation, the prosecutor may decided to pursue or drop the two charges Johnson is facing.

Several fundraising efforts have been started in support of Johnson. Over the weekend, the UVA Alumni for Change group stared a fund in conjunction with Johnson’s fraternity brothers. It has raised nearly $10,000 so far.

Johnson, who has garnered national attention after video of his Tuesday night arrest made by Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control special agents went viral on social media, has received an outpouring of support from students, administrators, faculty and the UVA community.

In the video, Johnson can be seen on the ground with several ABC agents trying to arrest him. Blood can be seen dripping from his face. A booking photo from later that night shows Johnson with a bruised face. He was charged with obstruction of justice without force and public swearing or intoxication.

“I believe we as a community are better than this,” Johnson’s lawyer read on his behalf last Thursday. “We cannot allow the actions of a few officers to ruin the community of trust we’ve built.”

Copyright 2015 WRIC

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