Yesha Callahan

New Photos Show Martese Johnson Was Chained During His Arrest


Martese Johnson heads to court this week after his arrest in Charlottesville, VA. According to Johnson’s lawyer, his client did not have a fake ID, and witnesses at the bar say that Johnson was not belligerent when he wasn’t allowed admission. Earlier today, a photo surfaced which clearly shows a beaten Johnson, as well as the chains officers used on his ankles.

One person speaking up for Johnson is Trinity Bar’s owner, Kevin Badke. Badke said Johnson “seemed sober,” and denied claims that bouncers were rude to Johnson because of his race.

Badke spoke about the night in question to the Cavalier and said Johnson only seemed disappointed that he didn’t get in.

“He was in line, tried to give me his ID,” Badke said. “I looked at it, and the only thing I looked at was the zipcode — because through ABC training that we’ve had as a liquor licensed business, one of the things you want to ask is certain questions about the ID…Before you even look at the photo or the birthdate, one of the things I ask…is their zipcode. And he gave me the wrong zip code.”

Badke even said because he’s also from Chicago, him and Johnson discussed the area and ended the conversation cordially.

“He grabbed his ID and walked away — it was business as usual,” Badke said. “I went back to carding other patrons that were coming in, and then I heard a commotion. I turned around, and he was on the ground.”

Johnson’s court date is tomorrow and will plead not-guilt to charges of public intoxication and obstruction of justice.

  1. March 25, 2015 - Reply

    This kid had the misfortune of running into the wrong jerk on the wrong night. Looking back thirty plus years, it is scary to think that this could have been me except there would have been no way to record it.

  2. March 26, 2015 - Reply

    Every time I read about this story my overwhelming reaction is…relief. Relief that he’s still alive to tell his story. Yes, what happened to him was outrageous, awful and racist on every level, but he could have ended up like Trayvon and praise God he’s still here to put the spotlight on racist institutions that are supposed to protect and serve. Isn’t that sad? Lawd. What a world we live in.

    • March 26, 2015 - Reply

      @The New Randomness

      It’s awful that we have come to the point where the worst is celebrated as a victory. This country has regressed in ways I never thought imaginable and the idea that a college student can get beaten over trying to get into a bar and being underage when white students do it daily and bearly leave with a lecture let alone chains and a bloody face says it all. Meanwhile the man in AZ who shot up 6 people got tazered and not one scratch left on him. These are very bad times.

    • March 26, 2015 - Reply

      @The New Randomness

      I cannot be relieved that this kid was beaten and terrorized, but lived. It should never have happened, period!

      I know what you mean about being glad he can tell his story, but his treatment was just wrong.

  3. March 26, 2015 - Reply

    The witnesses are coming forward to counteract the police’s statements that Johnson was belligerent and drunk. There has been no conclusive evidence that Martese Johnson was intoxicated at all. A blood alcohol test proved that he was not drunk. He being chained during his arrest was totally unnecessary and that was a shame. The brutality against black people by law enforcement continues. I only hope that Martese Johnson overcome this challenge in his life and continue forward with his life in general.

  4. March 26, 2015 - Reply

    Beaten and in chains over a zip code mix up??!!

  5. March 27, 2015 - Reply

    I hope he sues the crap out of those cops

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