The ABCs Of The Surveillance State: Six Gun Toting Alcohol Agents Pounce On College Kid Buying Bottled Water [Corrected]

By Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger

The Offending Contraband That Almost Got A UVa Student Shot
The Offending Contraband That Almost Got A UVa Student Shot

University of Virginia student Elizabeth Daly thought she was doing a good thing buying some La Croix bottled water and cookie dough ice cream from the Harris Teeter Supermarket to share at a charity event.  It was 10:15 p.m. and the twenty-year-old, along with her female roommate were trying get to a police sponsored “Take Back The Night” event where she thought  she would be listening to stories from sexual assault victims and developing strategies to combat the scourge of most college towns. Instead, as she crossed the dark parking lot and got into her vehicle, she was set upon by six people, one of whom jumped on the hood of her SUV and another who pulled a gun.

“I couldn’t put my windows down unless I started my car, and when 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,” Daly stated. Not wanting to become a victim herself, Daly heeded the words of her panic-stricken front seat passenger and took off.  As she did, she grazed two of the assailants.

“They were showing unidentifiable badges after they approached us, but we became frightened, as they were not in anything close to a uniform,” she recalled Thursday in a written account of the April 11 incident.

Those badges were from the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control and the marauding plain clothes officers were bound and determined to stop the women from underage drinking of  purported alcohol, a misdemeanor.  Apparently, the Keystone cops mistook the blue packaged LaCroix water for something like Labatts beer and  the assault on the citizen was on. Feeling guns were appropriate against this gang of college kids, the agents were reminiscent of another infamous and recent Virginia misdemeanor stop where a panicked female driver was shot and killed while fleeing from an overzealous cop with a penchant for overusing his service revolver.  In a  story that we covered on the blog (here), Culpeper police officer, Daniel Harmon-Wright, was sentenced to  three (3) years in prison by a jury for voluntary manslaughter after he fired 5 times into Patricia Ann Cook’s slow rolling SUV as she left a church parking lot on a supposed misdemeanor arrest for trespass.

Ms. Daly did stop her SUV in response to another ABC agent who approached in his car with lights and siren blaring. Showing an utter lack of common sense, she was booked on three felony charges including two of  assaulting these jacklegs and one counting of trying to elude them. She spent the night and into the next day  in the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail.

Fortunately for Daly, Charlottesville Commonwealth’s Attorney, Dave Chapman, is a grown-up with 34 years of prosecuting under his belt. He immediately dropped the charges and profusely apologized to the rattled young lady. “It wouldn’t be the right thing to do to prosecute this,” he said, noting that no one was hurt during the exchange.

Chapman did however take a preemptive swipe against a possible civil lawsuit that he knows is coming. Standing by the agents’ decision to file charges, and citing faith in a process that yielded an appropriate resolution, he told the Richmond Times-Dispatch newspaper, “You don’t know all the facts until you complete the investigation.”

True enough, unless you were there — like  all six of the ABC agents.

“This has been an extremely trying experience,” Daly wrote. “It is something to this day I cannot understand or believe has come to this point.”  Like every other person who sat through a civics class or read the Constitution, me neither.

When law enforcement forgets it works for the citizens and not the other way around this is precisely what happens. Under what scenario is jumping on the hood of a car and drawing a gun (each an assault given the utter lack of probable cause to stop much less arrest this college kid) acceptable behavior from a state where Thomas Jefferson once reminded us that,”It is to secure our rights that we resort to government at all” ?

The answer is there is none and Ms. Daly hopefully will have the pluck to prove that before seven citizens in a Virginia court of law.

Source: Richmond Times Dispatch

~Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger

CORRECTION:  Our good friend, Lindylou22 (love the internal assonance in that name), points out that while Elizabeth Daly had bought the now infamous sparkling water, some ice cream and some cookie dough from the Barracks Road Harris Teeter, the items were for a sorority fundraiser and not the “Take Back the Night (TBN)” event. Daly and her roommate had attended that TBN event earlier that evening and as  the article states were “on edge” after listening to the harrowing stories of sexual assault. As Lindylou22 rightly points out, this sad circumstance made it “worse for those poor girls.” Sorry for the errors but that great spading work shows Lindylou22 has law review written all over her. Thanks for the help.

Kudos, too, Lindylou22!

58 thoughts on “The ABCs Of The Surveillance State: Six Gun Toting Alcohol Agents Pounce On College Kid Buying Bottled Water [Corrected]”

  1. Hi Mespo, I’m so glad you’re calling attention to this story. One small correction to how this event unfolded, making it all the worse for those poor girls:

    “…The woman was on edge after spending the night listening to stories from dozens of sexual assault survivors at an annual “Take Back the Night” vigil on Grounds, said Daly’s defense attorney, Francis Lawrence.”

    They were actually returning from having attended the Take Back the Night program. Their minds were freshly full of stories of assault. Not having any idea that they had done anything wrong, they were apparently attacked by a bunch of men in plain clothes. Horrifying!

  2. I have had very good experiences with people in law enforcement. So they might be surprised to hear me say that I think it is critical that there be sufficient oversight and limitation of powers to keep them honest. But years of social science research back this up. Whenever circumstances create an ‘us vs. them’ mentality, the chances for abuse of power increase dramatically. Good intentions and trust in superior moral character have an appalling track record for keeping this from happening. Sticking the label “good guys” on them misleadingly plants the idea that goodness is a function of office rather than of conduct. We say that responsibility comes with power, but this claim is empty unless there is also accountability.

  3. “these actions occur more and more often is because these police state bureaus have to justify their bloated budgets”

    Thanks for putting that in words. In the past, I have often wondered if the over response from some LE agencies is due to over funded, over staffed agencies with not enough real work to keep them busy.

    What else could possibly account for six officers taking down a group of college women? And did I read that correctly – with weapons drawn???? For beer, for a misdemeanor. !?!?!?

    Is this unprofessional and irresponsible, or am I missing something? What next, no knock warrants for dorm beer parties?

  4. Bravo, Mespo! Wasn’t the the reason behing the lowering of the drinking age in the 70s?

  5. You get what you pay for and cops are not paid much. It’s a very clanish, inbred, narrow minded sub set of society. Gun lovin, law and order, mace the hippies, “Occupy” protesters are smelly commies… I’m not making this up; I went to the training courses. They used the tape of the California Occupy students being sprayed in the face… the instructor added text “watering the hippies”. It was a joke to them. Remember who and what you are dealing with. They not only believe in what they are doing they enjoy it.

    1. Timothy Scott: thanks for that insight, it is typically denied but i also know that is absolutely in line with the truth.

  6. As someone who attends the University of Virginia and lives right next to that grocery store, I want to point out that Charlottesville is not a safe place for female college students as we’ve had a string of sexual assaults for the past few years, and at least one girl (Morgan Harrington) who has been abducted and killed in an as yet unsolved case, and a University of Virginia employee who was apprehended by police with a “rape kit” in his van after he failed to abduct a girl. The fact that this girl and her friend were basically jumped by six jackbooted thugs without uniforms makes me furiously angry.

  7. I mis-barked. She should have shot them right through the windshield as they stood on her car. One shot is good for the whole day.

  8. It boggles the mind that my child at 17 can join the military and be trained to kill for (lies and bs) rights and freedoms they themselves do not have. they can not smoke a cigarette unless 18 and had better not take a drink of alcohol until 21. but hey lets train them to kill and send them home with a maimed body and body. no pay and a thank you.

  9. “There is a lot of bar technology that can limit the volume of alcohol consumption that isn’t being used. What I don’t understand is why bars don’t have convenient blow tests and use tickets to limit the number of serves. The bars could also be encouraged to sell weak drinks as an option by computer controlled liquor dispensers. A lot of people like to drink big fluid drinks with like 1/2 a shot in them. Women in particular can end up with .8 blood content just from having two margaritas in a bar. The ordinances could also require that sides of water be served with alcohol.”

    Plenty of actual esquires to answer your query, but it’s my understanding that bars and restaurants shift more responsibility to themselves for “over serving” when they have breathalyzer capability and, I’m sure some would argue, computer measured alcoholic drinks.

    Someone please correct me if I’m wrong on this. Torts wasn’t my strong suit.


    1. sorry for cross referencing but since Blind Faith broke the ice I think everyone would do well to see this video.

  10. ABC Officers: Already Been Creamed. Run over the schmucks and get out of Dodge. Schmucks can not wear uniforms or show a badge and jump on the car. She could have shot them.

  11. I was never sympathetic to prisoners but….

    As I blogged before, DoJ kidnapped me and held me without a trial, a bail hearing, a charge, or an evidentiary hearing for more than 4 months as a federal prisoner in a county jail.

    There I met two women doing DUI punishment on weekends. One was a teacher and one a manager of a medical office. Both told the same story. They went skiing and afterwards to a bar at the ski area where they had two margaritas. Then they were picked up in sweeps where the police were giving every single driver a blow test and they both had over .8. Neither was accused of any moving violation other than DUI.

  12. I agree, mespo. Just like when voting was the issue of the day for people who could be sent to war. No reason they shouldn’t be able to toast with a drink.

  13. Jude:

    “We already have enough dumb regulations regarding how much you can drink, and we already have enough bars extremely watering down drinks and ripping customers off, kay sieverding… We don’t need to encourage more of it.”

    ************************

    How about a rule that simply says “If you’re old enough and mature enough to defend your country in some godforsaken place with an M-16, you’re old enough to toast it with a drink.”

  14. I read that there are computer systems that control liquor inventory in bars and are supposed to ensure exact portion control. So that protects against bartenders setting women up by making their mixed drinks really strong as well as against bartenders skimming on liquor portions for profit reasons.

  15. We already have enough dumb regulations regarding how much you can drink, and we already have enough bars extremely watering down drinks and ripping customers off, kay sieverding… We don’t need to encourage more of it.

  16. Mike Spindell

    You have a good point about the difficulties in stopping the 18-21 group from drinking. However an officer told me once that it is bad public policy to have laws you don’t enforce, such as 15 mph speed limits, because it encourages disrespect for the law.

    There is a lot of bar technology that can limit the volume of alcohol consumption that isn’t being used. What I don’t understand is why bars don’t have convenient blow tests and use tickets to limit the number of serves. The bars could also be encouraged to sell weak drinks as an option by computer controlled liquor dispensers. A lot of people like to drink big fluid drinks with like 1/2 a shot in them. Women in particular can end up with .8 blood content just from having two margaritas in a bar. The ordinances could also require that sides of water be served with alcohol.

    Maybe some college towns could give provisional licenses to serve 18-21 year olds with stricter regulations and better procedures.

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