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Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersOn The Money — Powell pivots as inflation rises Pence-linked group launches 0K ad campaign in West Virginia praising Manchin Senators huddle on path forward for SALT deduction in spending bill MORE (I-Vt.) is soliciting donations for this Democratic presidential campaign with the support of Martese Johnson, an African-American college student who filed a federal lawsuit after police threw him to the ground during an arrest off-campus earlier this year.
The campaign sent out a fundraising email under Johnson's name. Johnson praised Sanders's plan on police brutality and racial justice.
"Bernie's racial justice plan is a crucial step towards confronting the structural inequalities that still exist in our country," Johnson wrote.
"By adopting Bernie's comprehensive approach to achieving racial justice, we can create a society where all people are treated with dignity and respect."
Sanders has worked to strengthen his pitch to minority communities as polls continue to show him lagging significantly behind Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonCountering the ongoing Republican delusion Republicans seem set to win the midterms — unless they defeat themselves Poll: Democracy is under attack, and more violence may be the future MORE in support from minority voters, specifically black voters in the key early-voting state of South Carolina.
His campaign launched a radio ad in that state on Tuesday, focused on his criminal justice reform plan, and he recently met with Martin Luther King, Jr.'s youngest daughter during a visit to the King Center in Atlanta.
Johnson decried systemic racism in America in his fundraising pitch and accused officers of racist motivations around his arrest, which left him bloodied.
"When the officers stopped me in Charlottesville, they did not see a University of Virginia student out with his peers," he wrote. "They saw a young black male with a high-top fade, a gold chain, some tennis shoes, and a hoodie."
The altercation became national news amid the controversy about how police treat black men. Virginia Democratic governor and Hillary Clinton supporter Terry McAuliffe called for a full report on the officers' actions. That report, released by the governor's office in September, said the officers didn't use excessive force, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
Johnson has filed a federal suit alleging that the officers deprived him of his civil rights.