Martese Johnson's attorney confident charges will be dropped - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

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Martese Johnson's attorney confident charges will be dropped

Martese Johnson went from University of Virginia honor student to focal point of race relations after an arrest by ABC agents near campus (Source: Martese Johnson attorney) Martese Johnson went from University of Virginia honor student to focal point of race relations after an arrest by ABC agents near campus (Source: Martese Johnson attorney)
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA (WWBT) -

Twenty-year-old UVA student Martese Johnson will have to wait a little longer to learn whether his public intoxication case will be thrown out. It follows his bloody arrest by ABC agents back in March. Outside the courtroom Thursday, Johnson spoke out about the ordeal.

"I just want to thank everyone for supporting me through what has been a strenuous process," Johnson told reporters.

It's now been two months since Johnson's bloody arrest outside a Charlottesville bar. In court documents NBC12 obtained, his attorney writes "the two agents slammed Mr. Johnson headfirst into the sidewalk, causing his head to bleed considerably." His attorney also questions why ABC agents approached Johnson in the first place, arguing Johnson had already been turned away from the bar and was walking away when agents confronted him.

"We believe police lacked justification to detain or arrest him, so we think the right thing to do is to dismiss the charges against him,” attorney Daniel Watkins said.

Prosecutors say it's too early to make that call, since they are set to meet with state police about its completed investigation into the arrest by ABC agents. That meeting will take place early next month. On Thursday, a judge set a June 12th status hearing to follow up.

"It's endured a bit longer than we all expected, but I believe justice will be served at the end of the day," Johnson added.

In the meantime, the UVA student prepares to begin the next chapter in his life.

“He's heading to an internship on Capitol Hill next week, and he's excited to start that,” Watkins said.

In the event the case moves forward, the judge wanted a date on the books for trial. Both sides agreed to September 30th.

"It's a big deal to have jail time hanging over your head,” Watkins said.

A panel formed by the Governor is researching whether ABC agents should have the ability to continue making arrests. On Thursday, Watkins said he had no comment about that matter.

Johnson is also charged with obstruction of justice. Police say he was agitated and belligerent the night of the incident. The student has no prior criminal history.

The arrest prompted these comments from Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe

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