Police Abuse

That's Bottled Water, Not Beer, Officer: A Ridiculous Arrest Yields a $200,000 Settlement

One University of Virginia student's mistreatment at the hands of state regulatory agents has come to a just end.


Karen Blaha / Flickr

One University of Virginia student's mistreatment at the hands of state regulatory agents has come to a just end: 21-year-old Elizabeth Daly will receive a settlement of $212,500 after an insane encounter with the Alcohol Beverage Control division in June of 2013.

Daly and two friends were leaving a shopping center near the UVA campus when ABC agents staking out the store took an interest in a case of bottles she was carrying. The agents suspected that Daly was underage and had illegally purchased alcohol. They were correct about her age (she was 20 at the time), but wrong about everything else—the bottles contained water, not beer.

Since none of the girls had done anything wrong, they were understandably confused when the ABC agents—none of whom were wearing uniforms—surrounded Daly's car. Daly attempted to comply with an order to roll down her window, but had to turn on the car first to do so. This provoked the officers, and one jumped on the hood of the car. At least one officer drew a weapon. Fearing for her life, and fearing that she was about to be robbed, Daly drove off with every intention of sorting things out at a police station. She attempted to call 911 right away, but was soon stopped by clearly-marked police vehicles.

After being told that the men who had approached her car were indeed law enforcement agents, Daly was apologetic. The agents, however, were not. Authorities charged her with three felonies, including assaulting an officer, and threw her in jail. The agents even made fun of Daly for being confused, according to her lawsuit.

But the lunacy of the agents' actions finally caught up with them. The charges were eventually dropped, and last week, Daly settled her lawsuit against the state of Virginia. According to The Daily Progress, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring has asked for a review of the ABC division, though he defended its existence:

Herring lauded a wave of policy and procedural changes ABC announced in November covering the way the agency handles undercover operations. Those changes came in the wake of state police and internal reviews of Daly's case.

"ABC agents do important work enforcing our alcohol laws and combating underage drinking, and the new policies and procedures implemented after this incident will help ABC effectively fulfill its mission while ensuring the safety of officers and the public," Herring stated.

Important work, indeed.

Hat tip: Eric Owens / The Daily Caller

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  1. Those ABC agents are going to have to dig deep in their pockets to pay that off. That will learn them their lesson for sure.

    1. Especially since they’re all out of a job now that they have clearly demonstrated that they cannot be trusted in a public service role.

      1. Oh, I see what you did there.. you guys….

    2. It’s the VA taxpayers who’ll be digging into their pockets to pay for the misbehavior of government employees. I doubt the offenders (all who are officers of the law) will pay any personal price. Whether that happens depends upon the voters and whether they are unhappy about it.

  2. I really hate to help out state terrorists but….

    It’d be a lot more effective to threaten shutting down stores that sells alcohol to underage buyers than have couple of dozen occifers attack a 20 year old girl that you think might have, maybe, bought said alcohol.

    1. Close the ABC stores. And get Washington to repeal the law denying transportation funds to states that don’t have a drinking age of 21.

  3. How about it’s none of the state’s business who buys or consumes whatever?

    1. That would make too much sense – sense that the control freaks lack.

  4. But the lunacy of the agents’ actions finally caught up with them.

    They were held to be criminally liable for their criminal acts?

    Herring lauded a wave of policy and procedural changes ABC announced in November covering the way the agency handles undercover operations.


    1. The way the rules/laws apply to law enforcement, is that they can violate them at least once, before procedures change to help prevent the illegal activity. Then after they change the procedures, they can break the law again and won’t be held accountable again.

      And repeat ….

  5. Having Ape-Bullies get violent on people will stop underage drinking. And keep people safe.

  6. For teh chillrunz!!!

  7. The only good thing, for some values of good, that has come out of various busybodies’ obsession with alcohol is NASCAR.

  8. It is just insane that police doing undercover operations, where the point is presumably to make it not obvious that they are police also expect people to instantly know that they are police when that becomes convenient. You can’t have it both ways. Either you are undercover and can’t expect people to know you are police or you aren’t. And just saying “police” isn’t good enough. Anyone can say that.
    I know this is fantasy land, but how hard would it be to tech police that if you are undercover, shouting “police!” is not sufficient to properly identify yourself as police.

  9. ABC agents do important work make money enforcing our alcohol laws and combating underage drinking

  10. Personally, I think that unless an officer is in uniform, he should have no authority to detain someone, except to stop a serious crime (i.e., a crime that you or I would have the authority to stop). Same goes with unmarked police cars. Failing this, we may as well just go full retard in the other direction, and pass a federal law requiring instant submission to anyone who flashes a piece of costume jewelry.

    1. The Geneva Convention agrees with you.

    2. Even then does the uniform mean you’re a cop? Today’s news is that an officer in Penna. coal country had a break-in and someone stole three of his cop shirts. Pair a shirt with black trousers and a junior G-man badge and who knows who is actually stopping you.

  11. The ABC is an example of how a bureaucracy, once created, never fades from existence even when its purpose has long been rendered unnecessary.

  12. But the lunacy of the agents’ actions finally caught up with them.

    How? Nothing happened to them and the taxpayers paid out some money. Nothing caught up to the agents, because they skated free and clear.

  13. I’ll ask again. Is there any kind of crime where using undercover officers is actually legitimate?

    1. Contract murder?

      1. Most contract murder busts are entrapment anyway.

        “I bet you’d like to see him dead, wouldn’t you. Well, I know a person…”

      2. I think that is sometimes legit. There was a case near where I live a few years ago where some dumbass was asking about having someone killed. Someone he had asked went to the police and they set something up to trap the guy. Assuming that the police weren’t lying too much, that one seems legit.

    2. Nope. The only reason to use undercover officers is to catch people engaging in victimless crimes. Just laws do not require undercover officers. Unjust laws do.

    3. I’m cool with using undercover officers to bust organized crime rings.

      1. Would organized crime rings exist without unjust laws prohibiting illegal gambling, untaxed liquor, illegal drugs, prostitution…?
        Sure, organized crime rings engage in truly criminal activity, but would they even exist if they couldn’t profit from the black market created by unjust laws?

        1. Dunno. But they exist now, and aside from gambling and hookers, they run protection rackets, commit financial crimes, run murder for hire schemes, corrupt public officials, and engage in outright theft. If the only way to take them down is to get undercovers inside then I’m fine with that.

          1. Yeah, I think that even without the victimless crimes, there would be plenty of fraud, theft and protection racket stuff for organized crime to be into. A lot less than there is now, but it would still exist. It’s very much like government that way.

          2. Are you describing organized crime, or government?

            1. Both. But I’m still cool with busting organized crime rings, just like I’m cool with the government busting murderers even though the government commits murders, or the government busting burglars even though the government steals from its subjects.

            2. Is there a real difference in kind separating organized crime from government? In the absence of a sufficiently strong government the biggest protection racket will simply become the government.

              1. In the absence of a sufficiently strong government the biggest protection racket will simply become the government.

                Tell that to our resident anarchists.

                1. It seems to me that there are two very general categories of anarchists. Those who think that a truly anarchic society is possible, which I agree is fairly absurd, and those who accept that some kind of government is inevitable (and perhaps even desirable to some degree), but see that government isn’t really a different sort of thing from a gang or whatever. I can understand if you don’t consider the later proper anarchists. A lot of libertarians probably fall into that category.

                  1. I would fall into the latter. Death and taxes. Can’t avoid them.

      2. But what kind of crimes do mobs commit that can’t be busted by conventional means? Drugs? Prostitution? Gambling?

        1. Lots of stuff. Outright theft. Extortion. Murder. If a criminal enterprise is structured in such a way that conventional police work can never get the guys at the top then you have to get people inside.

          1. Organized crime is a business. That’s all it is. It’s a business that sells goods and services to a willing market. Goods and services that happen to be illegal. I don’t think theft, extortion and murder have big enough markets to fund a criminal enterprise. Besides, government already does those things.

            1. Theft itself may not have a very big market, but there certainly is a market for things that can be stolen.

              In any case, I think we can all agree that the victimless crimes are basically welfare for criminals and organized crime would be a much smaller problem, at least, without those laws.

            2. I get your point. And I’d love to repeal victim-less crimes and see organized crime the world over wither on the vine. But absent that, since these gangs are out running protection rackets, and stealing, and murdering and extorting, I think it’s perfectly fine that the police go after them.

            3. Besides, government already does those things.

              Perhaps there is a market for those things but government has crowded out the market? Sort of like how mutual aid sociteies pretty much no longer exist because the welfare state has crowded them out of the market?

          2. I say just defend yourselves from the little guys on the bottom, & you never have to worry about the guys on top.

    4. To stop a gay serial killer?


      1. I watched that years ago because of a serious Pacino-obsession. It’s… weird. But watchable.

  14. Gov. Terry McAuliffe overhauled the agency’s governing board upon taking office and in April named former Fluvanna County Sheriff Ryant Washington as a special policy adviser to help strengthen ABC’s law enforcement division.

    How about eliminating it instead?

    1. That was the only reason I voted for McDonald, as it was one of his campaign planks. Alas it never happened, you can go ahead and throw that in vault of broken political promises. McDonald is lucky I’m not on the jury, I would send him to jail just on that principle.

      1. Wasn’t it the GA’s fault, though? They refused to repeal the ABC because of the revenue the state makes off of it.

  15. “ABC agents do important work…,” Herring stated.

    citation, asshole?

  16. Nothing left to cut.

  17. “the new policies and procedures implemented after this incident”

    So the *new* policy prohibits assault and false arrest?

    Why didn’t they include that in the *old* policy?

  18. 200K seems kind of light to me. She was assaulted, kidnapped and locked up. That would be a life sentence if me and 10 of my fiends did it.

  19. There are so many layers of incompetence to this story. They laughed at and mocked this girl for not knowing that they were agents of the state, yet they somehow mistook fucking water for beer? Have they no sense of irony?

    I could see one of those fancy waters like Voss being mistaken for vodka, but how do you confuse water for beer? Did they think they had stumbled upon the last liquor store in the country selling Zima?

    1. Also, couldn’t they just have asked her if it was beer? I don’t think that underage college student beer buyers are really a particularly dangerous group.

      What could possibly be accomplished by this kind of action that couldn’t have been done with one or two cops showing badges and asking politely what she was carrying?

      1. What fun is it if you don’t get to act like Don Johnson in Miami Vice?

      2. Manhandling a bunch of coeds? Yeah, there’s no possibility any of them would be turned on by that.

        1. (looks up job openings at VA ABC)

      3. “I don’t think that underage college student beer buyers are really a particularly dangerous group.”

        Are you kidding? These people could have gotten drunk, mistaken water for beer, and kidnapped someone at gunpoint in order to save them from themselves. There’s no telling what college students with alcohol would do.

    2. Dude, Miller Clear and Zima are all the rage now.

      1. Hipsters? Gotta be hipsters.

      2. “Miller Clear”? Is that a thing?

  20. Could have been worse – could have had her dog with her…

  21. The tactics are a nice little end run around the 4th Amendment. Scare the living shit out of a girl so that she will waive her rights to get you to leave her alone.

    1. Actually, I think you nailed it.

    2. Maybe get her to shake her bra.

  22. ABC agents do important work enforcing our alcohol laws and combating underage drinking

    God’s work.

  23. Officers have been reprimanded and fired, right?

    1. Reprimanded, possibly.

  24. Was there ever really a time when “tell it to the judge” operated? Where you could just explain things to the judge, skip all the silly legalities, and the judge would listen and say, “Forget about it”?

    Why should the gov’t employ people whose job is to be out to get you? The whole idea of criminal prosecution is wacky. The more I think about criminal law, the less reason I think it has to exist. Law in gen’l is bad enough, but criminal law is a cancer. All the reform of substantive law in the world won’t get you far if there are people who are paid tax money to fuck with you.

    1. All the reform of substantive law in the world won’t get you far if there are people who are paid tax money to fuck with you.

      This is my objection to comparisons of the government to the Mafia.

      When you pay your protection money to the Mafia, they actually leave you alone. The government takes that money, and spends it on hiring people to fuck with you.

  25. Important work, indeed

    Harrassing young co-eds IS important work. Why do you think they were staking out a store close to a college campus?

  26. Top Men!

  27. #yesallwomen

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