Martese Johnson’s suit against Virginia ABC moves forward

Martese Johnson, who graduates from UVA this weekend, requested a jury trial that is currently set for October. Staff photo Martese Johnson, who graduates from UVA this weekend, requested a jury trial that is currently set for October. Staff photo

In a hearing in federal court on May 13, Judge Glen Conrad ruled to accept Martese Johnson’s amended complaint in his suit against the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, though the state had asked to throw out the lawsuit.

The ABC’s attorney, Nicholas F. Simopoulos, said Johnson made more than 60 amendments to his original suit, including new claims, and he said that ignores proper procedure. The defense’s motion to throw the suit out was denied.

ABC agents outside of Trinity Irish Pub threw Johnson to the ground last year after they saw a bouncer hand his identification card back; they thought he was using a fake ID to try to gain access.

“In fact, Martese’s identification card was valid,” the suit says, with an amendment stating that because he had recently moved, he confused his current and former ZIP codes, inadvertently providing the wrong one when questioned by the bouncer.

“The agents’ brutal assault and battery of Martese caused injuries which required 10 stitches to his head and face, resulting in permanent scarring and disfigurement,” the suit also alleges.

Photos and videos of Johnson’s bloody arrest went viral, and he is now suing the ABC and its director, Shawn Walker, for negligent supervision and training, and a failure to train or supervise. He is also suing special agents John Cielakie, Thomas Custer and Jared Miller for false arrest, excessive force, negligence and battery.

Johnson, who graduates from UVA this weekend, requested a jury trial that is currently set for October.

Related Links:

September 2, 2015: Scarred, still alive and seizing the moment

October 22, 2015: Martese Johnson sues ABC for $3 million

November 21, 2015: ABC officials file motion to dismiss Martese Johnson’s lawsuit

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