The University Student Arrested For Buying Water Is Now Suing The Whole Darn State
A University student filed a $40 million dollar lawsuit this week against the state of Virginia as well as the seven Alcoholic Beverage Control agents who arrested her under suspicion of illegally purchasing beer last April. Her actual “crime”? Buying
bottled canned water, of course! But why let a little thing like accuracy get in the way of traumatizing kids in the name of teetotalism, amirite?
Elizabeth Daly, a student at the University of Virginia, is alleging malicious prosecution, six counts of assault and battery, and most telling, failure to appropriately train agents, in her lawsuit. According to the suit, ABC agents confronted Daly outside of a local Harris Teeter grocery store. The agents, who were not in uniform, were under the assumption that she had purchased beer, when in reality she had a case of LaCroix sparking water, which to be fair, can kind of look like a case of beer. When confronted, Daly attempted to flee the scene and was later arrested at a nearby intersection.
Here is where the story goes from “unfortunate misunderstanding,” to “negligent bullshit.” Daly’s suit claims that the reason she attempted to flee was because the agents were out of uniform and failed to properly show Daly and her friends their identification. One agent allegedly pulled a gun on her, while another tried to smash in her car window. Hell, even if she had bought some illegal brewskis, this would be overkill. According to Daly, she did exactly what we’re all told to do when confronted by a questionable law enforcement officer; she called 911:
“My roommates and I were terrified. We called 911 as we had been taught to do if you were ever unsure of the validity of people saying they are law enforcement.”
Daly was eventually charged with three felonies for grazing the agents with her vehicle. She spent one night in jail and prosecutors later withdrew the charges and expunged her records. Because it turns out, buying canned water isn’t a crime. I’m sure it tastes like crap, but it’s not illegal. Whodathunk?
Daly’s lawsuit also claims that she now suffers from tremors brought on by the incident, and that she and her parents “have incurred significant legal, medical, and other costs, and will continue to do so in the future due to the malicious, intentional and negligent actions of the agents.”
Now, was this incident “malicious and intentional”? I don’t know. But it was certainly negligent. Daly did exactly what I would have done had I been accosted by non-uniformed grown men with guns outside of a supermarket. She ran like hell. I’m not saying Daly deserves $40 million for her troubles, but I hope the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control learns its lesson here and trains its agents to, oh, I don’t know, NOT rough up kids suspected of buying booze. A novel idea, I know.
(Photo: Albemarle Charlottesville Regional Jail)