ABC Agents’ Overreaction Jails Co-Ed for Bottled Water
By Jerry A. Kane
In April, University of Virginia student Elizabeth Daly and two roommates were walking to her car carrying bottled water, cookie dough, and ice cream purchased from a grocery store for their sorority’s Alzheimer’s Association benefit fundraiser.
When the women got in the car to leave, six undercover Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) agents in plainclothes came up on them. Believing the blue carton of LaCroix sparkling water to be a 12-pack of beer, one agent jumped on the hood of Daly’s car while another drew his gun. Not knowing their intentions or who they were, Daly hurried to drive away from the darkened parking lot.
“[W]hen I started my car they began yelling to not move the car, not to start the car. They began trying to break the windows. My roommates and I were … terrified.”— Elizabeth Daly
While an agent yanked at the door handle, banged on the window, and yelled at the women to get out of the car, Daly and her friends were hastily dialing 911 to report what was happening. Minutes later after Daly drove away, she was stopped by a vehicle with lights flashing and sirens blaring.
Daly was then handcuffed without explanation and spent that night and the following afternoon in the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail. Although she apologized when she found out the six people were ABC agents, she was charged with two counts of assaulting a law enforcement officer and one count of eluding police. Apparently, her SUV “grazed” two agents during her attempt to get to a police station. The Class 6 felonies carry a maximum combined sentence of 15 years in prison and a $2,500 fine for each offense.
Although the charges against Daly were later dropped, ABC supervisors found no wrongdoing in the agents’ encounter with the sorority women after reviewing the incident.
The agents were acting upon reasonable suspicion and this whole unfortunate incident could have been avoided had the occupants complied with law enforcement requests.
However, public outcry has forced the agency to revisit the case.
“Because of the public outcry, they’re [agency supervisors] reviewing the facts of the case again to make sure nothing happened.”—Maureen Haney, agency spokeswoman.
Haney called the review a “personnel matter” and would not say whether any of the agents involved in the bottled-water incident would be placed on administrative leave during the review, or if the supervisors who conducted the first review would be heading up the second.
The Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Board Members are J. Neal Insley, Chairman and Sandra C. Canada, Commissioner.
“Adolph Hitler didn’t just start rounding up Jews on a whim. He spent years putting the infrastructure in place to install his totalitarian state. They had control of everything; the media, the child indoctrination centers they referred to as ‘public schools’, the monetary and economic structure, and national and local police departments.”— Bob Russell
For more on the story, see Bottled-water purchase leads to night in jail for UVa student and Outcry over ABC bust of UVa student grows.