Charlottesville pub press release details circumstances surrounding Martese Johnson arrest

Posted at 8:49 PM, Mar 21, 2015
and last updated 2015-03-21 23:45:36-04

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The management team at Trinity’s Irish Pub in Charlottesville released a very detailed statement of their version of what happened Wednesday morning in connection to the arrest of University of Virginia third-year student Martese Johnson on Saturday through their attorney.

Johnson, 20, was denied access to the pub because he gave the manager a different zip code that the one on his valid Illinois state identification card issued in 2011. Trinity’s said in their statement that “this is a test he frequently used to determine if a patron is using a fake ID. If the ID doesn’t belong to them, they are not familiar with some of the details on the ID.”

The press release suggests that the pub was being targeted by Virginia’s Alcohol Beverage Control.

“Prior to Tuesday evening, the management of Trinity were told by ABC agents that their establishment would be watched over closely on St. Patrick’s Day because “they were Irish.” In order to ensure that they were in compliance with ABC regulations, Mr. Kevin Badke, Managing Owner of Trinity Irish Pub, was on the restaurant premises and at the front door for a good part of the evening. On or about 12:15am, he spoke with Fire Marshall officials as well as ABC agents who were positioned outside the restaurant.”

Badke says that Johnson was turned away without incident and it is his opinion that Johnson “did not appear to be intoxicated in the least.”

The pub denies any reports of belligerence from Johnson and from restaurant management. They also denied any sort of discrimination.

“There have been reports that Trinity engages or engaged, in this incident, in racial profiling in not permitting Mr. Johnson to enter. The rationale for allowing patrons to enter – being familiar with the zip code on their own license – is color, gender, race, and ethnicity-blind.”

Calls to the establishment for more details from CBS 6 were unanswered.