A bloody photo taken of Martese Johnson went viral and has led to calls from Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, among others, to investigate what happened.
The ABC agent who made the arrest outside a popular college bar said that Johnson "was very agitated and belligerent." Johnson was charged on two counts: obstruction of justice without force, and public swearing or intoxication.
Attorney Daniel Watkins told the media Thursday that Johnson is an "upstanding young man with a bright future." He said the third year student is a leader on campus who has tried to make a difference in the community.
Watkins read a statement prepared by Johnson:
"I stand here today as a member of the University of Virginia and Charlottesville community. I'm shocked that my face was slammed into the brick pavement just across the street from where I attend school. Three officers then pinned me to the ground, pressing their knees in my back—while blood flowed freely from the gash to my head. As the officers held me down, one thought raced through my mind, ‘How could this happen?' My head lay bloody, but unbowed. I know this community will support me during this time. I trust that the scars on my face and head will one day heal, but the trauma from what the ABC officers did yesterday will stay with me forever. I believe we as a community are better than this. We cannot allow the actions of a few officers to ruin the community of trust we have worked so hard to build."
Johnson's injuries required 10 stitches, according to the attorney.
The incident has sparked outcry at the University of Virginia. Students have gathered for marches and protests in order to highlight race relations.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.