July 3, 2013
Albemarle County supervisors plan on sending a letter to the office of Gov. Bob McDonnell to express concern over the way agents with the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) allegedly acted with a University of Virginia student purchasing water.
“I think we have a responsibility to do this,” Chairwoman Ann Mallek said.
Elizabeth Daly, a 20-year-old UVa. student, purchased a package of sparkling water from Harris Teeter in the Barracks Road Shopping Center when she was apparently approached by undercover agents with guns drawn. The agents suspected the underage student had purchased alcohol.
Daly was arrested on multiple charges, but all have since been dropped. The alleged incident happened months ago, but the details just came out last week.
Mallek added the item to the agenda at Wednesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting, saying there “needs to make a change in training or something.”
She received support from some fellow supervisors.
“Clearly, this incident indicates there are either inadequate guidelines and training in place,” Supervisor Dennis Rooker said. “If there are, they’re not being followed. Either way, something needs to change in the system.”
Supervisor Rodney Thomas said he wanted to receive more information about the incident. The ABC has denied any wrongdoing in the incident.
But Supervisor Ken Boyd said while he agreed what happened was inappropriate, it’s not the board’s place to develop a formal position on every incident that happens in the county or beyond.
Boyd noted that the alleged incident happened within Charlottesville city limits, not Albemarle County, but Mallek countered that it could have just as easily happened over the border.
Supervisor Duane Snow also supported the need for a letter.
“I don’t think they’ll run and change because they got [a letter] from us, but I think a letter will make a difference,” he said. “Somewhere along the line, something breaks down. Someone ought to be looking into training along these lines as, ‘OK, if we’re suspecting this person has a backpack bomb on them, yes, let’s do that.’”
County staff will draft a letter described as “general in nature” and bring it back to their board for approval before sending to the governor’s office.