This story has been updated.
UPDATE 6:38 p.m. EDT: Some highlights from the brief press conference: Johnson's lawyer said he did not present a fake identification, but presented his real ID with an old address on it. He then told officers his new address, which appears to have caused the questioning that led to his arrest. Johnson, speaking through his lawyer, said he "still [believes] in our community ... and that we cannot allow the actions of a few officers to destroy what we have built."
"I trust the scars on my head will heal with time ... but the trauma will stay with me forever," Johnson said in the statement.
The lawyer and the mother of 20-year-old University of Virginia student Martese Johnson is expected to speak out during a Thursday press conference about Johnson’s violent arrest early Wednesday morning outside a local bar during an altercation with law enforcement that left him bleeding from his head. Johnson also is expected to speak during the press conference. The incident has shocked the community of Charlottesville, Virginia, and garnered national attention for its racial overtones.
A graphic video shot by a bystander showed a bloodied Johnson being held down by a handful of law enforcement officers with the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. Johnson was heard accusing the officers of racism and yelling “I go to UVA” and “How did this happen?” Onlookers pleaded with officers to lift Johnson off the ground, but reportedly were pressed to leave the scene.
Johnson received 10 stitches for his injuries and was charged with resisting arrest, obstructing justice without threats of force, and profane swearing or intoxication in public, according to the Cavalier Daily, a student-run UVA newspaper. Students rallied in the hundreds on the UVA campus Wednesday night to show support for Johnson, who is an honors student and vice chairman for community relations for the UVA Honor Committee.
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe ordered an investigation into the incident after being asked to do so by UVA President Teresa Sullivan. Sullivan also met with local and university law enforcement on Wednesday to gather facts on the incident. Charlottesville officials, including Mayor Satyendra Singh Huja and Police Chief Timothy J. Longo, also expressed concern over the incident and agreed an investigation was warranted.
Community members and students contended there is a racial discrimination problem in Charlottesville and at UVA. Johnson’s arrest has brought that to light, they said, and now the community must address those issues. Johnson will appear in court on March 26 and faces fines up to $2,750 and a jail sentence of no more than 12 months.