ABC agents suspended after Martese Johnson’s arrest back on the job

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WRIC) — The agents with the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Bevarage Control (ABC) removed from duty pending a review of their involvement in the arrest of University of Virginia student Martese Johnson have been reinstated.

Authorities say that the agents were removed from active duty pending an administrative review of the incident in which Johnson’s arrest by ABC agents was caught on video and went viral on social media. Johnson garnered national attention and received an outpouring of support from students, administrators, faculty and the UVA community.

Concerned by reports of the incident, Governor Terry McAuliffe ordered the Virginia State Police to conduct a serious and thorough review of the events leading to this personnel action.

Virginia State Police, an agency independent from the ABC, carried out the investigation into Johnson’s arrest. The report was submitted to the Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran.

After thoroughly reviewing the incident and the report, Virginia ABC concluded that the agents did not violate agency policy and returned these special agents to active duty today,” a release from the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Bevarage Control reads in part.

ABC says they will not be able to comment any more on this development. Because law prohibits disclosure of personnel files, the administrative review will not be released.

ABC says they’re moving forward the Governor’s executive order to improve law enforcement within the department. The agency is organizing meetings to go over ‘memoranda of understanding’ agreements with administrators of law enforcement agencies serving communities with colleges or universities.

Training that was ordered after Johnson’s arrest has been completed ahead of schedule, according to ABC.

The Virginia ABC Bureau of Law Enforcement worked with the Department of Criminal Justice, splitting training into two sessions lasting two weeks each that were completed in June and July. Training included hands-on and classroom instruction in areas of use of force, cultural diversity, effective interaction with youth and community policing.

Virginia ABC is actively participating in the Enforcement Expert Review Panel. The next panel meeting is scheduled for August 26.

Stay with 8News for more on this developing story.

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