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Martese Johnson lawsuit on hold for 10 days

Judge says Johnson may amend lawsuit in interim

<p>The court has not yet ruled on the defense’s motion.</p>

The court has not yet ruled on the defense’s motion.

A federal judge has placed Martese Johnson’s civil lawsuit against the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control on hold for 10 days.

Johnson, a fourth year in the College, is suing ABC following a controversial arrest outside Trinity Irish Pub in March 2015. Johnson was a third-year student at the University when three ABC agents arrested him for suspected use of a fake ID. Videos and photos of the arrest, during which he sustained a head injury, prompted nationwide discussion on police brutality and racial profiling. The charges against Johnson were eventually dropped.

Attorneys on both sides went before Judge Glen Conrad in Roanoke following ABC’s motion to dismiss the $3 million lawsuit.

ABC argued in court Wednesday afternoon that Johnson’s lawsuit should be dismissed on the basis that he does not have a claim against ABC and that the arrest was fair.

Johnson’s lawsuit maintains his civil rights were violated during the arrest. The lawsuit asserts the bloody arrest should be considered assault and battery. Additionally, the lawsuit counts false arrest, excessive force, failure to train or supervise, negligence and negligent supervision and training.

Johnson is suing the state agency, ABC Director Shawn P. Walker and agents involved in the arrest — John S. Cielakie, Thomas S. Custer and Jared B. Miller. Conrad is considering removing Cielakie from the lawsuit because he was not directly involved in the arrest.

The ruling states Johnson has 10 days to amend the lawsuit while the judge considers the ABC’s motion to dismiss. The judge will then make a formal ruling on the motion.

Until the judge rules on the motion, neither side may continue to collect evidence.

A five-day jury trial is planned to begin Oct. 3, though it may be rescheduled to a later date.


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