June 28, 2013
UPDATE: 7:18 p.m.
Elizabeth Daly's name is cleared. Daly was arrested for assault and battery of a police officer by ABC agents in April after they mistook a 12-pack of water, for beer.
ABC agents were undercover in the Harris Teeter parking lot approaching anyone who looked underage and had alcohol.
Daly and two friends picked up ice-cream, cookie dough and sparking water, which was what landed her in jail after what she calls a terrifying situation.
ABC agents in casual clothing surrounded Daly's car, flashing badges and yelling to not move the car. Daly says one agent pulled out his gun.
Commonwealth's Attorney Dave Chapman explains part of that night in his motion to the Charlottesville General District court on Thursday.
"The male agent who approached that side of the vehicle could see that she was misperceiving the events in terms of who the agents were and their intentions. This agent could also see that the passenger was calling 911. Before the vehicle sped off, this agent saw the front passenger jump into the rear seat and yell toward the driver words t0 the effect of go, go, go, get out of here."
Agents said Daly took off at a high speed and grazed two agents near the front of the car which turned into the two counts of assault and battery of a law enforcement officer.
"Obviously police officers shouldn't especially at night come out and approach a woman in a parking lot, or anyone really, jumping on a hood of a car it's very, very dangerous," said defense attorney Scott Goodman. "Clearly we have one example here where the citizen was more right than the officer."
John Whitehead of of the Rutherford Institute is shocked and says it's unfortunately part of a trend he's seen in the past several years.
"I mean these weren't criminals with guns it was total over reaction," Whitehead said. "It's all part of the same kind of paradigm we're seeing. A very aggressive police investigating minor incidents and drawing their guns."
Daly says it is an experience that has called into question values that are very important to her.
"My integrity, honor and character."
The Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control released the following statement:
"Agents were working in the area, concentrating on underage possession enforcement. An agent observed what appeared to be an underage person in possession of what appeared to be a case of beer, and approached her to investigate. The agent identified herself as a police officer and was displaying her badge. Other agents did not join the incident until the subject refused to cooperate. Rather than comply with the officers' requests, the subject drove off, striking two officers. She was not arrested for possessing bottled water, but for running from police and striking two of them with a vehicle.
"The agents were acting upon reasonable suspicion and this whole unfortunate incident could have been avoided had the occupants complied with law enforcement requests. We take all citizen complaints seriously and the matter is currently under review by the ABC Bureau of Law Enforcement."
A University of Virginia student will not face felony charges after being accused of assaulting two Virginia ABC agents.
On April 11th, Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control (VABC) Agents were approaching people who appeared to be underage leaving the Harris Teeter at Barracks Road Shopping Center with possible alcoholic beverages.
According to paperwork filed by Commonwealth's Attorney Dave Chapman, around 10:00 PM an agent saw three women leave the store with what appeared to be a 12-pack of beer. Two ABC agents in casual clothes approached the women, who got inside a motor vehicle before the agents could catch up to them.
The agents approached the driver's side and passenger's side doors, displayed their badges and identified themselves as police officers.
The woman sitting in the front passenger seat became visibly upset, calling 911 as the agents tried to get them to come out of the vehicle. The woman jumped into the back seat and told the driver, Elizabeth Daly, to get them out of there.
Daly quickly drove out of the parking lot, grazing one of the ABC agents that were standing near the vehicle.
Agents pulled over the vehicle a short distance later, and were able to convince the women that they were officers.
While interviewing the women, the agents discovered one of them was "anxious as a result of traumatic events that happened to one of her friends," and that the 12-pack was a brand of sparkling water.
Daly was charged with two counts of assault and battery of a law enforcement officer, and one count of eluding. On Thursday the Commonwealth dropped those charges.
Daly said in a statement: "Cookie dough and ice cream for a fundraiser should not put you through an extremely degrading night and afternoon in jail, appearing in court, posting bond, having to pay an attorney, missing school, social and family functions, not allowed to leave the state, causing you endless nights of no sleep, effecting your school work and final exams, wondering if you would be dismissed from school, wondering how this would damage your reputation and ability to get a job, all while waiting on pins and needles to see what the Commonwealth is going to offer you."