From Bill Crutchfield is another recent story of Government over reach.  The sad thing is that no one admitted wrong doing, accountability, or said I am sorry.

From Bill Crutchfield, and outstanding entrepenuer who grew his company from his garage:

I am providing you with a news reports about the arrest and jailing of a 20-year-old UVa student who committed the unthinkable crime of buying sparkling water at a local grocery store.  This is another example of the obscene government overreach that is surely causing our founding fathers to roll over in their graves.

Bottled-water purchase leads to night in jail for UVa student

osted: Thursday, June 27, 2013 10:37 pm | Updated: 11:30 am, Fri Jul 5, 2013.


Posted on June 27, 2013

When a half-dozen men and a woman in street clothes closed in on University of Virginia student Elizabeth Daly, 20, she and two roommates panicked.

That led to Daly spending a night and an afternoon in the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail. Her initial offense? Walking to her car with bottled water, cookie dough and ice cream just purchased from the Harris Teeter in the Barracks Road Shopping Center for a sorority benefit fundraiser.

A group of state Alcoholic Beverage Control agents clad in plainclothes approached her, suspecting the blue carton of LaCroix sparkling water to be a 12-pack of beer. Police say one of the agents jumped on the hood of her car. She says one drew a gun. Unsure of who they were, Daly tried to flee the darkened parking lot.

“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.

“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.

Charlottesville Commonwealth’s Attorney Dave Chapman read Daly’s account and said it was factually consistent.

Prosecutors say she apologized profusely when she realized who the agents were. But that wasn’t good enough for ABC agents, who charged her with three felonies. Prosecutors withdrew those charges Thursday in Charlottesville General District Court, but Daly still can’t understand why she sat in jail.

“This has been an extremely trying experience,” she wrote. “It is something to this day I cannot understand or believe has come to this point.”

Agents at ABC’s regional office in Staunton deferred to the agency’s public affairs office in Richmond. Spokeswoman Carol Mawyer would not provide details of the arrest or ABC’s investigative procedures, except to say that all agents wear plainclothes and carry metal badges.

Agents charged Daly with two counts of assaulting a law enforcement officer and one count of eluding police, all Class 6 felonies carrying a maximum penalty of five years in prison and $2,500 in fines per offense.

Chapman said he’d never encountered a situation like this in his 34 years of experience.

“It wouldn’t be the right thing to do to prosecute this,” he said, noting that no one was hurt during the exchange, which took place around 10:15 p.m.

Daly incurred the assault charges when she “grazed” two agents with her SUV, according to court records. She drove the SUV past the agents after her front-seat passenger, in a panic, yelled at Daly to “go, go, go” and climbed into the rear of the vehicle to gain space from the men on her side of the car, the records state.

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.

The women dialed 911 as they pulled out of the parking lot to report what was happening and ask whether the agents were police officers. Daly said she was planning to drive to a police station. She stopped the SUV nearby for an agent driving a vehicle with lights and sirens, Chapman said.

Chapman stood by the agents’ decision to file charges, citing faith in a process that yielded an appropriate resolution.

“You don’t know all the facts until you complete the investigation,” he said.

Botch-athon: Legislators question ABC procedures

By Lisa Provence |
Published online 9:37am Wednesday Jul 10th, 2013
and in print issue #1228 dated Thursday Jul 11th, 2013
An ABC operation in the Harris Teeter parking lot has led to calls for an investigation into why officers arrested a frightened young woman who was doing nothing wrong.
An ABC operation in the Harris Teeter parking lot has led to calls for an investigation into why officers arrested a frightened young woman who was doing nothing wrong.
abc/lisa provence

Two weeks after felony charges were dropped against a sparkling-water-buying 20-year-old, who was totally wigged out when a phalanx of seven plainclothes Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control agents surrounded her car in a darkened Harris Teeter parking lot, pounded on the windows, leaped on the hood, and pulled a gun— all for suspicion of underage beer possession— citizens and legislators continue to ask the question: What were they thinking?


Elizabeth Daly and two sorority sisters had just attended a Take Back the Night rape awareness vigil on April 11 and went to Harris Teeter at Barracks Road around 10pm to buy ice cream and cookie dough for a fundraiser. A case of LaCroix sparkling water the women had also purchased drew the scrutiny of the ABC agents, who had been staking out the parking lot and who mistook the water for beer.

Initially, the ABC adopted a blame-the-victim stance for Daly’s arrest and three felony charges, including two assault of an officer for “grazing” the agents as she fled in fear: “The agents were acting upon reasonable suspicion and this whole unfortunate incident could have been avoided had the occupants complied with law enforcement requests,” read a July 1 statement.

As the maelstrom continued, by July 5, the agency announced a new procedure effective immediately: Future stakeouts for underage alcohol purchases would include a uniformed officer “once the plainclothes agent has developed reasonable suspicion and/or probable cause to approach individual(s) they believe have violated the law.”

In a case that has now made international news, some say that’s not enough. More than 500 people have signed a petition that demands an apology to Daly from the ABC. Delegate Barbara Comstock has written to the agency, asking for an explanation of the procedures that led to such a debacle, as has House Minority Leader David Toscano. Charlottesville City Council has joined the fray, calling for an independent review and cooperation with city police when conducting operations here. And the Rutherford Institute’s John Whitehead has written to the General Assembly decrying the militarization of police and an operation that he says ignores the Fourth Amendment.

“Either ABC officials are being deliberately disingenuous or they don’t understand that there is a distinct difference between ‘reasonable suspicion’ and ‘probable cause,’ the latter of which is required by the Constitution before any government official can search an individual or his property,” writes Whitehead in a nine-page letter to the House Police, Militia and Public Safety Committee.

“They’re not supposed to do surveillance on the American public,” Whitehead tells the Hook. “If they’re coming out of police departments not trained in the Fourth Amendment, we’ve got a real problem.”

He notes the Daily Progress report that the ABC had conducted a two-day sting in the Harris Teeter parking lot and 10 people were arrested. How many more were accosted by agents because they looked young and appeared to be carrying alcoholic beverages like Daly, who was doing nothing wrong, wonders Whitehead. That, he maintains, does not rise to the level of probable cause.

He wants the General Assembly to investigate the still-unnamed agents involved, and to reevalutate the policies and procedures of the agency. “Originally created to enforce Prohibition-era laws, the ABC Special Agent program itself is a relic of a different era, and the extent of its powers are in desperate need of comprehensive review, as this incident demonstrates,” says Whitehead.

Northern Virginia Delegate Barbara Comstock wants to examine the ABC’s policies and procedures first. She says she’s been getting an earful from constituents, and as the mother of a 24-year-old, young-looking daughter who attended UVA, she has concerns about what she’s read in the news about the incident.

“The situation could have escalated,” she tells the Hook in a phone interview. “It could have been much worse if it escalated.”

Comstock points out that uncertainty about whether someone is a cop is an “affirmative defense” for an eluding police charge, and the 911 call one of Daly’s passengers made attests to the fear they felt. “The young women clearly were frightened,” she says. “They didn’t know who they were dealing with. In an ambiguous situation, we want young women to be able to protect themselves.”

Among the questions she’s asking: Why were seven officers necessary? Why were the arrests not made in the store or just outside rather than in a darkened parking lot? What are the policies for use of a weapon? And perhaps most significantly, Comstock asks, “Considering the facts surrounding this incident— a woman justifiably fearful for her safety who had committed no crime— why were three felony charges filed against her?”

Considering the facts surrounding this incident–-a woman justifiably fearful for her safety who had committed no crime–- why were three felony charges filed against her? – See more at:

Delegate David Toscano also wants to look at ABC policies. “I know there’s a lot of concern,” he says. “I’ve heard not just from the public but from ABC folks concerned that this is an outlier incident.”For Toscano, the big issue is “proportionality,” and whether the agents needed to prevent the women from driving away for what is a summons offense. “The better part of valor would have been to take the license plate number and then write a summons,” he says. “They didn’t do that.”

He, too, questions the need for a firearm for underage drinking interdiction. “Is there a reason for the attempt to break the window?” he asks. “Is that consistent with policy?”

Advises Toscano, “When you’re going out in the dark, you’ve got to be very sensitive when approaching females. It sounds to me like an over-reaction. These agents have been dealing with questions of consumption for years. You’ve just got to wonder what caused them to over-react.”

The Harris Teeter incident has generated a lot of wondering about the ABC. For instance, as the firestorm was heating up and the three felony charges against Daly were dropped June 27, Progress reporter Katy Evans discovered that the chairman of the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control, J. Neal Insley, was at a five-day conference at the Sheraton Waikiki Resort in Hawaii to discuss moonshiners.

“Chairman Insley’s conference was at no expense to ABC or the state,” says ABC spokesperson Becky Gettings. He’s the chairman of the National Alcohol Beverage Control Association, a nonprofit for state alcohol monopolies, and that organization paid for his trip, she explains.

At 11:43pm July 8, Gettings sent out a third statement from the ABC, this one from Insley.

“Once the charges were nolle prossed, I immediately directed the internal review of the circumstances leading up to the young lady’s arrest,” he says. Insley says he’s asked the Virginia State Police to conduct an independent review, and neither agency will comment on the review until it’s complete.

“I’ve never met a moonshiner,” says Whitehead about the Hawaii junket, and he questions another agency expense— a $750,000 mobile command center rolled out this spring and was paid for with forfeiture funds, according to a release. “What the hell is that for?” demands Whitehead.

UVA class of ’13 grad Ben Elron was so concerned about the Harris Teeter incident that he started an online petition demanding an apology from the ABC and appropriate discipline and/or dismissal of the agents involved.

“As a former member of UVA’s Honor Committee, I highly value the positive, collaborative relationship between students and the police— it is something that we worked hard to promote,” he writes in an email. “I started this petition because I believe it is critical that this relationship extend to the ABC agents in Charlottesville as well.”

The likelihood of an apology? That was one of those unanswered questions to the ABC from the Hook.

Another refers to a statement in the July 5 release that cites “misinformation being reported.” What has been inaccurately reported? The ABC declines to say, but there’s this in the same release: “The culture at ABC is one of transparency and of safeguarding the public trust; therefore, we take all citizen complaints very seriously.”

Inevitably, the debacle has drawn scrutiny to the Prohibition-era agency and the ABC’s mission to thwart drinking by 18- , 19- , and 20-year-olds.

“It does raise some questions about the resources put in place to prevent underage drinking,” says Toscano, who reiterates, “It’s a question of proportionality.”

Listen to the 911 Calls:

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