Sunday, June 30, 2013

Woman Almost Became Felon For Buying Bottled Water

I'm all for cracking down on underage drinking but if this story is true, some alcohol enforcement agents in Virginia ought to get a hobby.

According to The Daily Progress in Charlottesville, Virginia, a student named Elizabeth Daly, 20, walked out of a store with two friends. Daly was carrying what looked like a 12-pack of beer. It was really a package of bottled water.
Yes, crack down on underage drinking. But
do you need a SWAT team to do it?  

Then Virgiina Alcoholic Beverage Control agents swooped in, one with a gun drawn and surrounded her car, according to The Daily Progress. They were in plain clothes, and Daly said she could identify the badges.

Daly panicked. "I  couldn't put my windows down unless I started the 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," she was quoted as saying.

She was  thinking she was being attacked by thugs and tried to drive away. In that effort, she supposedly grazed a couple of the agents as she fled. Daly was also calling 911 at the time, and wanted to drive to a police station.  She stopped when she saw the flashing police lights on one of the agents' cars, and realized they were law enforcement.

The agents charged Daly with two counts of assaulting a police officer and attempting to elude. She faced up to five years in prison.

She spend the night and a good part of the next day in jail, but common sense eventually prevailed, according to the Charlottesville Newsplex.

The   local prosecutor dropped the charges, saying Daly's account of what happened was consistent with the facts.

According to the prosecutor:

"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, the agent saw the front passenger jump into the rear seat and yell toward the driver words to the effect of 'go, go, go, get out of here'"

The Alcohol Beverage Control Agency had a far different take on the events.

"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."

Yeah, and this whole unfortunate incident could have been avoided if the alcohol control agents weren't pretending they were an assault team capturing a mass murderer.

If they thought Daly was buying booze, why didn't they walk up to her as she left the store, check out what she was buying, and make sure it was really a 12 pack of water, not a 12 pack of Old Milwaukee Light.

The Alcohol Beverage Control agents must be bored and frustrated to turn into a SWAT team just to crack down on underage drinking. I could understand the guns drawn, the leaping up onto the car if they thought she just robbed the store, but GAWD!

Daly's defesne attorney, and an analyst of said this:

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, according to the Charlotte Newsplex:

"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."

If Whitehead is right and more law enforcement is reaching for their guns, what is the reason? Is it just more dangerous for cops nowadays and they have to be hypervigilant? Or do they have better equipment and want an excuse to use it? Something else?

 I hope there is a good reason behind it. 

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