Three Virginia liquor agents who were caught on camera violently arresting a university student have been cleared of wrongdoing and returned to work Monday, the state said.
Images and video footage showing University of Virginia student Martese Johnson, 20, bloodied and pinned to the ground by a Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Department officer in March sparked protests and outrage.
An independent report by the Virginia State Police, ordered by Gov. Terry McAuliffe and later reviewed by the ABC, found the agents "did not violate agency policy and returned these special agents to active duty today,” the liquor department said in a statement Monday.
The agents involved in Johnson’s arrest were restricted to “administrative duties” during the review, according to an ABC statement released in March.
The ABC said training “in areas of use of force, cultural diversity, effective interaction with youth and community policing,” also ordered by McAuliffe, had been completed ahead of schedule. The training lasted two weeks, the ABC said.
Public intoxication or swearing and obstruction of justice charges brought against Johnson after the arrest were dropped in June by a prosecutor, who found that “the interest of justice is not served by further prosecution of the defendant.”
Johnson’s attorney, Daniel Watkins, said at the time that his client was “ecstatic.”
“It has been our position all along that the Virginia ABC officers were not justified in their treatment of Mr. Johnson,” he said. A spokeswoman for Watkins said that he did not have a comment about the ABC agents returning to normal duties Monday.
The ABC said that, in accordance with Virginia law, the independent state police review will not be released.