UVA bar owner: Martese Johnson was ‘cordial’ before arrest

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In this photo provided by Bryan Beaubrun, Martese Johnson is held down by an officer Wednesday, March 18, 2015, in Charlottesville, Va. | AP Photo/Bryan Beaubrun

The co-owner of the Trinity Irish Pub, the one where University of Virginia student Martese Johnson was turned away from moments before his bloody arrest last week, says Johnson was “cordial and respectful” and did not appear to be drunk.

Kevin Badke, who is from Chicago’s South Side, said people “deserve to know what actually was the interaction between me and Mr. Johnson.”

The arrest of Johnson and alleged police brutality outside the Charlottesville bar sparked protests, as well as a state investigation into the Alcoholic Beverage Control agents involved in the arrest.

Badke says when Johnson showed his ID to gain entry into the bar, Johnson was then asked a key question to weed out fake IDs: “What’s your ZIP code?”

“He didn’t give the right answer and I said ‘I just can’t accept this,'” Badke said. “He just seemed disappointed he didn’t get in. He was acting like a normal college kid.”

While the police report described Johnson as “very agitated and belligerant,” the bar owner disputes that.

“I didn’t think he was intoxicated at all,” Badke said. “He was very cordial.”

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