ABC agrees to meet with UVa students and local police Friday

ABC agrees to meet with UVa students and local police Friday

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA (WWBT) - University of Virginia's student council announced plans to bring representatives from Virginia's Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control to campus for a public forum.

The meeting will feature questions from the audience in Newcomb Theater at 1 p.m. Friday. Charlottesville Police Chief Timothy Longo, Albemarle County Police and University Police will join the forum within walking distance of the university's iconic Rotunda.

The ABC, which enforces alcohol regulations across Virginia, is now under intense scrutiny following the arrest of third-year UVa student Martese Johnson.

A criminal investigation concerning the conduct of ABC agents began Thursday, a day after images of the student's bloodied face spread quickly online.

Agents reviewing restaurant compliance questioned Johnson early Wednesday morning, after he was denied entry into a pub on Charlottesville's University Avenue. The confrontation eventually led to a gash on the student's forehead, with blood on the street as agents arrested him.

As relative calm returned to Charlottesville late Thursday, students said they applauded the move to hold the forum, in order to answer how Johnson's arrest made both national and international headlines.

"I would definitely want to talk to the ABC that were front and center here," said UVa student Kelsey Mckechnie. "I would want to know, what transpired, basically. I think there's a lot of conflicting facts out there and I want to know what actually happened."

Walking a short distance from where rain started to wash away Johnson's blood, still dried to bricks on the sidewalk, a student who had Johnson as a mentor said he also has questions for ABC representatives.

"We respect the police officers, we respect authority, we respect that you have to do your job," Johnson's friend said, "but we don't respect the fact that you have to do it in a way that a young man has to go to the hospital, end up with 10 stitches, and really create a scare."

The student council will also accept questions in advance of the forum via Twitter, asking members of the public to tweet concerns or questions to @UVaStudco, using the hashtag #policedialogue.

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