As more than 1,000 students gathered at the University of Virginia campus Wednesday night to demand justice for Martese Johnson, a black undergrad who appeared bloodied during an arrest outside a bar in Charlottesville, thousands of others joined in the rally online.
Johnson, a 20-year-old Italian and media studies major at UVA, was charged with obstruction of justice without force, and public swearing or intoxication early Wednesday. The arrest was captured on video and in photos that showed the third-year student calling the Alcoholic Beverage Control agents who arrested him "racists."
According to the Associated Press, the agent who made the arrest said Johnson "was very agitated and belligerent." According to his lawyer, Johnson, who has no criminal record, needed 10 stitches to his head.
Outraged Twitter users expressed support for Johnson with the hashtag #JusticeForMartese.
One campus frat that has to go: the Fraternal Order of Police, Charlottesville, Va. #JusticeForMartese— Barry Crimmins (@crimmins) March 19, 2015
Re #JusticeForMartese, it's terrible to say this, but when I clicked the hashtag I was just relieved to see he wasn't dead.— Musa Okwonga (@Okwonga) March 19, 2015
Roots drummer Questlove was among them.
As was Russell Simmons.
To the students at UVA, protest, protest, protest. To the police, recognize their first amendment right and be peaceful. #JusticeForMartese— Russell Simmons (@UncleRUSH) March 19, 2015
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe called for an investigation into "the use of force" in the incident.
Gov. McAuliffe has requested an independent State Police investigation of ABC arrest last night in Cville in which a student was injured.— Terry McAuliffe (@GovernorVA) March 18, 2015
Many noted Johnson's appearance was in contrast to the "thug-like" portrayal of African-American victims in recent controversial cases involving police.
It doesnt matter if u are Black at a top university or Black & standing on a Staten Island st.. We are in this together #JusticeForMartese— Rashad (@RashadDrakeford) March 19, 2015
it doesn't matter if your sagging your pants or wearing a tie man,#JusticeForMartese— SwaVay☮ (@iSwaVay) March 19, 2015
Doing well in college and police come and brutally beat you. Not calling out every officer but just the few... 😔#JusticeForMartese— Bryson Banks (@brysonbanks_) March 19, 2015
Shame we have to highlight fact Martese was an honor student to get empathy for his victimhood. But Black. #JusticeForMartese— zellie (@zellieimani) March 19, 2015
The campus rally drew more than 1,000 students, including Johnson, who called for the protest to be peaceful.
"I beg for you guys to please respect everyone here," Johnson told the crowd. "We really are one community."