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