The roommate of Martese Johnson, the black University of Virginia student whose head was bloodied during an arrest near the campus, said he believes the use of force was likely race-related, and that his friend was using his actual ID while trying to enter a bar on the night of the incident.
“There is nothing he could’ve said or done that could provoke an officer of the law to assault him in such a manner,” Joshua Kinlaw told ABC News.
“I am aware that Martese does not own a fake ID,” Kinlaw said. “So the ID that he actually showed to both the bouncer and to the ABC [Alcoholic Beverage Control] officers was his real ID. Now because the age on that ID shows him to be 20 years old, I think that’s when dispute and discrepancies came in,” Kinlaw said.
As for Johnson, he said Thursday he was "shocked that my face was slammed into the brick pavement three blocks from where I attend school," as his attorney vowed to fight the charges. He was arrested early Wednesday morning outside the Charlottesville bar by state Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) agents who are charged with enforcing alcohol laws in Virginia.
"I trust that the scars on my face and head will heal but the trauma from what the ABC officers did will stay with me forever," Johnson, a third-year student, said through his attorney, Daniel Watkins.
Watkins also rebutted reports that Johnson may have shown false identification at the bar.
"At no point during the encounter ... did Martese present a fake ID," Watkins noted.
Johnson did not speak at the news conference, with Watkins reading a statement on his behalf.
"I still believe in our community. I know this community will support me during this time," he said in the statement.
Earlier in the day, students protested in the University of Virginia library to demonstrate Johnson's arrest.
Chants of "black lives matter" and "no justice, no peace" were heard inside the library after protesters moved their outdoor march inside around 12:30 p.m.