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Martese Johnson files amended lawsuit

Complaint revised after defense motion to dismiss suit

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

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

Martese Johnson and his legal counsel filed an amended complaint against the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control, its director and three of its agents in U.S. District Court on Feb. 1.

The amended $3 million lawsuit followed a motion by the defense to dismiss the suit. Judge Glen Conrad ruled Johnson would have 10 days to amend his suit.

Johnson was arrested on March 18, 2015 after ABC agents suspected Johnson of using a fake I.D. to attempt to enter Trinity Irish Pub. Although the I.D. was valid, agents arrested Johnson and charged him with public intoxication and obstruction of justice.

After reviewing the case, Charlottesville Commonwealth's Attorney Dave Chapman declined to prosecute Johnson.

The amended suit maintains Johnson’s bloody arrest by ABC agents violated the U.S. Constitution and federal and state laws. The counts described in the suit include false arrest, excessive force, failure to train or supervise, gross negligence, negligent supervision and training, assault and battery.

Additions to the lawsuit include a more detailed description of John Cielakie, a special agent for the ABC who handcuffed Johnson on the night of the arrest, and his role in the incident.

Although Cielakie initially observed Johnson’s arrest by ABC agents Jared Miller and Thomas Custer, the suit states “Cielakie knew that his fellow agents were violating Martese’s constitutional rights by seizing him without probable cause.”

The amended suit also provides more details about the moments leading up to the arrest. The suit states the agents did not hear the conversations at Trinity or see any signs of intoxication before deciding to arrest Johnson.

A jury trial is set to begin on Oct. 3.

Correction: this article previously stated former Commonwealth's Attorney Denise Lunsford declined to prosecute Johnson. Charlottesville Commonwealth's Attorney Dave Chapman decided not to pursue charges.


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