Terror at Harris Teeter: Indignation rises over ABC underage drinking op

In a week with landmark U.S. Supreme Court rulings, the news that had Charlottesville buzzing as outrage mounts? Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control agents' arrest of a young woman who'd gone to Harris Teeter to buy ice cream and cookie dough for a charity event and who was charged with three felony counts– even after she profusely apologized for not recognizing the agents as cops in the darkened parking lot.

In the story first reported by the Daily Progress, UVA student Elizabeth Daly, 20, and her two roommates were walking to her SUV in the Barracks Road Shopping Center around 10pm April 11 when seven plainclothes agents spied a suspicious blue carton of LaCroix sparkling water that they thought could be beer.

The agents didn't reach the young women until they were already in the car. "Agents Brown and L. Blanks attempted to confront three youthful-appearing females in which one appeared to be carrying a suitcase of beer," says the cryptic criminal complaint.

Agent Brown went to the passenger side, displayed his badge, and said he was police, while Agent L. Blanks, who is female, went to the driver's side, according to the complaint

To Daly, the badges were unidentifiable and the undercover agents didn't look like cops, she says in a statement. "[W]e became frightened." The young woman couldn't roll down her window without starting her car, she says, and when she did, the officers started yelling at her and trying to break the car windows.

"My roommates and I were terrified," says Daly. "We called 911 as we have been taught to do if you were ever unsure of the validity of people saying they are law enforcement." She began to pull away. "One of the men drew a gun in plain view of all three of us," she says. "Our panic heightened."

According to the criminal complaint lodged by Special Agent A.T. Covey, he went to the front of the SUV and was on its hood "when the driver sped away to evade police," and agents Covey and Brown were "lightly struck" multiple times.

After the story broke June 28, the Virginia ABC's initial statement skirted the gun-pulling allegation. Following a weekend in which the incident made national news, an ABC spokesperson released this July 1:

"After an agent was struck by the subject’s car and bounced up on the hood on her vehicle, another agent unholstered his weapon. He did not lift the weapon from his side. He was hit by the vehicle as well."

The Virginia ABC has not confirmed the number of agents involved in the underage undercover drinking operation on a Thursday night at Harris Teeter. Nor has it released their identities, some of which are found in court documents.

Agent Andrew Taylor stopped Daly at the intersection of Emmet and Alderman, according to the criminal complaint, and Covey notes that "the accused" said she did see the agents' badges and heard them saying "police" and "stop." Then she was charged with two counts of assaulting an officer and one count of eluding— all Class 6 felonies that carry a maximum of five years in prison and up to a $2,500 fine.

Daly says in her statement that she had planned to drive to the police station. She learned the officers were "legitimate" from 911, and she stopped at the light just outside the parking lot, where an unmarked car pulled up. In the Progress account, Commonwealth's Attorney Dave Chapman says Daly's account was "factually consistent." Chapman had not returned a phone call from the Hook at press time.

In his motion to dismiss the charges, Chapman writes that two of the officers could see that the driver and passenger were panicking, in particular, the front seat passenger, who was "very upset." One agent could see the passenger call 911 and jump in the back seat, yelling, "go, go, go."

"The male agent could see she was misperceiving events in terms of who the agents were and their intentions," says the motion, which adds that the passenger was especially anxious as a result of traumatic events that had happened to a friend and that Daly was "influenced dramatically by the reaction of the passenger."

Additionally, as reported by the Progress, the women had attended a Take Back the Night rally at UVA earlier in the evening, where survivors of sexual assault shared their stories at the McIntire Amphitheatre.

After Daly realized the ABC agents were police, she apologized repeatedly, according to the motion to dismiss.

Daly "was not arrested for possessing bottled water, but for running from police and striking two of them with a vehicle," says the Virginia ABC in a statement. "The agents were acting upon reasonable suspicion and this whole unfortunate incident could have been avoided had the occupants complied with law enforcement requests."

"Arrogant" is how the Rutherford Institute's John Whitehead describes the ABC's response.

"They pull their guns on kids for beer?" he asks. "Someone's going to get shot from this whipping guns out."

Whitehead sent a letter to City Council July 1 demanding an independent investigation of this and the Rugby Road incident, referring to a May 7 SWAT raid by Homeland Security, Customs Enforcement agents, and Virginia State Police to bust a fake ID ring, a raid of which local police were unaware until right before it began.

Even if Daly had illegally purchased alcohol as a minor, Whitehead wonders, was the response by the ABC agents justified? "Is a full militarized team of non-police officers really necessary for the enforcement of underage drinking laws?" he writes.

Even the basis for the stops— accosting people who look young who appear to have alcoholic beverages— runs counter to the Fourth Amendment, says Whitehead, author of A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State. "It's not illegal to look young," he says.

"What bothers me most," says longtime Charlottesville resident Ike Allen, "is for an observational sting in a public parking lot— a mundane and safe operation— why were they carrying weapons? I don't see the necessity for being armed to catch teenage beer drinkers." 

He worries that things could have spiraled out of control and ended tragically. "They've already demonstrated poor judgment," says Allen. "They were hopped up with adrenaline pumping. What if they decided to shoot the tires out?"

Allen says that even if the young women had alcohol, which is a misdemeanor charge, they were confronted in a frightening way— and Daly had to spend the night in jail. "If I were her parents, I would be livid," he declares.

"I was always told not to trust anyone approaching you if you were not in a safe place," says another longtime Charlottesville resident and mother, Linda Mackenzie Murphy. "As a parent," she says, "I would be concerned about my son or daughter being approached by seven people in a dark parking lot."

Although the three felony charges were dropped, Daly, who says she has never consumed alcohol, still sounds in shock from having to spend the night in jail following an excursion to buy cookie dough and ice cream. "It is something to this day I can't understand or believe has come to this point," she says in her June 27 statement.

She lists the "extremely degrading night and afternoon in jail," having to appear in court, having to post bond and pay an attorney, missing school, wondering if she would be dismissed from school, and "wondering how this would damage my reputation and ability to get a job," as part of the nightmare she's lived since April 11. 

"The reality of the matter is what I mentioned previously as having experienced and that is not just forgotten by today's results," she says in the statement. Her attorney, Fran Lawrence, declined further comment on behalf of his client.

"We take all citizen complaints seriously and the matter is currently under review by the ABC Bureau of Law Enforcement," assures the ABC in its statement.

But for some local citizens, the reaction to Daly's ordeal has sparked anger on the eve of Independence Day. Inside Charlottesville's Coy Barefoot sends this message on his WCHV radio show and on FaceBook: "It's simply this: NOT HERE. That's the response these ABC agents and the Commonwealth of Virginia need to hear loud and clear from our community: NOT HERE."


This is unbelievable and liable to cost the ABC some Dollars if this person sues them. The public needs to pursue without relenting until ABC fires or reprimands all the agents involved, changes policies of enforcement and re-directs their efforts towards more likely offenders. We are the public, we pay the taxes, and elect the legislators that operate this agency, we will not be treated this way. NO TOLERANCE for police state tactics

This is so unbelievable. And considering all that happened, I can't believe it took over two months to drop the charges.

ABC's response that everything could have been avoided "had the occupants complied with law enforcement requests" shows that this is clearly a larger problem than 7 individual officers..

Mr/Mrs/Miss repeal the ban, the court system is overloaded statewide and moves very very slowly. Especially after a person has posted bond and been released from jail. Just have to wait for whatever court date has been set to deal with the charges next. Even in a blatantly and obvious false arrest, you have to wait for the court date that has been set most of the time. The "suspect" hangs out there in limbo and looks guilty to the public until they prove their innocence.

Back to the story itself, the ABC agents most likely thought the various felony charges they placed might result in a lesser plea agreement by the "suspect", and would therefore lessen their liability in their making such grave mistakes in this arrest. Thankfully the commonwealth attorney did not play their game. We never had such a 3 ring circus when Clarence Roberts rang the ABC sting operations in Charlottesville and Albemarle County. And he worked by himself most of the time unless somebody like myself was with him (and I did join him on many of his sting operations).

Seriously? She hit 3 of the agents with a car. She doesn't know how to lower her window without turning the car on? While the ABC agents were clearly over zealous, this girl was just as bad as they were. People complain about them having weapons, what do you think this girl used her car as? Also, Whitehead is a self promoting hypocrite. Of course it is not against the law to look young, it is also not against the law for police to use reasonable suspicion (someone who looks young and appears to have alcohol) to show their badges and check things out. While I feel bad for this young lady, lets keep this in perspective.

dang proofreading program!!!

** "rang the ABC sting operations" above = "ran the ABC sting operations"

Steven, how did this young lady APPEAR to have alcoholic beverages in her possession? Please explain this to us. Shouldn't trained ABC agents know what any and all alcoholic beverage packaging looks like? It's not that hard to know and doesn't require a college degree..

This is screwed up. Many of you don't remember this, but about 15 years ago, there was an abduction and murder of a girl on Route 29 and they believed that the guy had a red light that he put on his car and got her to pull over. I was driving home that summer and was followed by a truck with a red light on top. When I called the police with the license plate, it turned out that it was from a stolen car. The truck sped away when he saw me on the phone. These girls did exactly the right thing. The ABC owes the citizens of Virginia an apology and a resolution, and I hope the courts find in her favor if she sues.

What really burns me is that the ABC knows it did wrong and it just trying to cover itself.

I'm disappointed that this is usually the kind of story The Hook usually breaks (used to break?) before anyone else in town. The first place I heard about it was national news, and then the Progress and cvillenews and, well, everywhere else had stories up before this one. I hope this isn't a sign of things to come in the post-Hawes era.

I have two daughters, one about to enter college. If this had happened to her, I would be unrelentingly furious.

I agree with the statements that seven undercover cops was about 5 too many, that weapons are unnecessary for sting operations designed to police underage drinking (though I suppose undercover cops are always packing heat), and that for sure drawing the weapons was way beyond acceptable.

If it had been me, I would be terrified of the feeling that my group was being accosted by people claiming to be cops, using it as a ruse to overpower me. My instinct would have been the same — flee, even if it means collateral damage to put it in a police state euphemism.

The cops could have been low key, and addressed the young women in some manner that was disarming, unthreatening, and demonstrative of their restraint within authority. In my view they wholly bear the blame for this and the girls none of it.

Let's hope there's a lesson learned.

No one in the press, that I'm aware of, has printed the names of these thugs so the public can be warned about them. The underlying rationale for the existence of a free press is to protect the public from the arbitrary exercise of governmental power.

What are the names of the animals employed by the Commonwealth that would treat young women, or anyone, like this?

The question is whether these Officers were following protocol or whether they are just morons on a power trip. If they were following protocol then the public needs to demand that ABC officers never instigate a possible shootout over a case of illegally purchased beer. If these people were overzealous then we need to evaluate each Officers decisions at the time and sideline the ones who are obviously not ready for prime time.

My guess is that it was/is a combination of both. We have surrendered too many of our rights to the Government and given the government too much authority over our lives. Schools have siezed the right to have zero tolerance and expell a child from school because they have a water pistol in their backpack or even a comic book with a character inside holding a gun. We have Police arming themselves with Homeland Security money and forming swat teams that are just itching to save the world.

The ABC has lost sight of the reason they were dispensed guns. It was for moonshiners in the backwoods of Floyd County, not college students with "possibly" a PURCHASED case of beer. A good officer would have backed away from the car and said "calm down and wait for one moment" not started to smash windows or block the car. Common sense says that the girls were most likely not going to pull a weapon or were secret taliban terrorists caught in the act..

This is why we need the ability to expunge arrest records or have the GOVERNER write an apology letter for them to include with their resume so they are not discriminated against for the idiotic decisioins of a Government run amok.

This all happend less than a mile from where Morgan Harrington disappeared by perpatraitors about the same time at night.

I hope they keep this alive before someone gets hurt. I would imagine there is a redneck out there somewhere who has the balls to pull a gun on a group of non uniformed people going after after three young girls in a parking lot.. Of course when he killed them in a shootout they would simply villify him instead of seeing him as a good samaritan. After all he should have known that the Government is run by incompetent idiots who would create a situation like this.

To cops, being barely brushed by a car = being hit. You can be charged with resisting arrest by raising your hand at the wrong time. If the cops were treated for any type of injury that might make me view this a tad differently but there has been zero I have read so far that warranted the night in jail for this girl. It comes down to her intent.

What really struck me about this incident, however was that after the victim attended a Take Back the Night event the ABC seems guilty of blaming the victim. She was asking for for it even though she had not done anything wrong until confronted by strangers in a dark parking lot. ABC alleges she bought a provocative case of bottle waters so they were justified in their actions.

What could the ABC officers done, you might ask? They could have avoid this by pulling the ABC car in front of her car and turning on their flashing lights. The girl won't have moved- the ABC would still have accosted her anyway but would have moved on after realizing they were mistaken.

Gasbag, Nobody on the planet can identify all beer boxes from a distance. The officers moved closer to confirm whether or not this was alcohol. According to the girl they showed their badges and identified themselves as police, BEFORE she started her car and ran into them. In other words they moved closer to confirm things. The Girl is the one who jumped to conclusions and acted rashly (egged on by her passenger). If you read the article you would remember that they did not arrest her until she hit them with her car. I have a 21 year old daughter, and I would hope she would be cautious, but rational in a similar situation. GIrlygirl, I hope the agents sue the girl and her passenger for trying to KILL them with a motor vehicle. If the situation was reversed and a cop was driving the car, everyone would be calling for at least a suspension of the drivers license. Just because no one likes the ABC laws, is no reason to pile on the agents.

---> She hit 3 of the agents with a car. She doesn't know how to lower her window without turning the car on?

According to every report I've seen of the incident, no, she couldn't lower the window without turning on the car.

The basic failure of the ABC officers here was that at least a couple of them could clearly see the women were panicking, but as the group, they failed to de-escalate the situation, and instead made it infinately worse for all involved.

These are young women in a poorly-lit parking lot who haven't done ANYTHING WRONG, but find themselves beset by a good-sized group of law enforcement officers who clearly didn't do a very good job identifying themselves. They panicked, and their panic results not in the officers trying to do a better job of explaining the situation and confirming their identity but in them DRAWING WEAPONS.

I'm a lot older than these young women, and frankly, if I felt like I was being swarmed by a group of armed men in a situation where I couldn't easily get to safety, I wouldn't have just tapped them incidentally with my car - I would have worked to knock them down at least enough that I felt my own life would not have been in danger.

Steven, you might want to quit while you are ahead... there are a hundred better ways these Officers could have handled this situation... Starting with the overwhleming force, and ending with an arrrest instead of a teaching experience.

Sorry Heather, she says she cannot open the window without turning on the car. No one has confirmed this. If your car is not broken, then you can lower the window by turning the key to the power or accessory setting. While I agree that the agents clearly need to be retrained, I object to treating this young lady as a victim. The attending a take back rally in no way makes up for her reckless behavior. She acted as poorly and dangerously as the agents. I am not saying they are faultless, I object to the inference that someone who ignores Badges and uses their car as a weapon is also faultless.

I really can't tell if steven is serious or just having fun, but it's the first viewpoint against the majority that I've seen, and for good reason.

She did not use her car as a weapon - she tried to drive away from people in plain clothes who flashed a badge (which could easily be fake, and that could be determined given the situation that they created).

steven, keep in mind - clearly this woman was scared and trying to flee, because she hadn't done anything wrong. If she had drugs on her or something, then you could maybe argue that this factored into her decision. But she had bought some basic groceries.

Also, there are a ton of people that might not know how to turn their car to "on" or "accessory" to power their windows. ABC cannot operate under the assumption that everyone can do this and any other action (engine starting) warrants slamming windows.

She didn't "ignore badges" - she called 911 and planned to drive to the station

Steven, keep digging, you are making the case for firing all the Officers... When a person is in a panic mode created by crazy behavior turning the key to accessory or starting the car is not as aesy as you imply it sounds. Remember the girls bought water and had no idea why they were even being approached. The Officers should have considered this possiblity before they went all Serpico on them. They screwed up and they need to sit down and figured out what changes they are going to make to make sure it does not happen like this again. If they continue acting like rogue thugs someone will needlessly die. They will pull a gun on the wrong group of people and there will be a bloodbath in a shopping center parking lot full of families and college kids.

If they do the exact same thing toorrow and girls in the shopping cetner are in the same position then the girls should do the exact same thing.. Flee and call 911.

So, just wondering... how does one become an ABC Cop? Is it necessary to be rejected by the state police, county and city police, and University police first? Does anybody actually grow up dreaming of being a cop for ABC? I'm suspecting major power trips are involved in their behavior, particularly the gun-pulling.

Was the store in cooperation with this operation? Was there ABC officials doing inside surveillance before items were bagged?

Bill, I think you meant the ABC officers went RAMBO on the girls, not Serpico.

Back to the story again, there was a very simple solution to this event not taking place. As the ABC agents walked towards the girls, all they needed to do in a loud stern voice was say, "Ladies, we're ABC agents and we want to talk to you about the alcohol you just purchased!"

99 times out of 100, the girl(s) would have immediately said, "What? We didn't purchase any alcohol."

This is the way ABC agent(s) and myself did it back in the early and mid 70's. It worked fine!

Let's replay the story, and ask what anyone could have reasonably done to avoid the incident.
First things, first. Seven grown men in plain clothes, three young females, at night, in a parking lot. Next thing: the agents evidently appeared all at once around the car. I am SURE the agents themselves can understand how this situation might make anyone nervous. And if they DON'T, then we see our first problem: training. Which leads us to management. Whatever else may be done about this, the governor should at least call in somebody and open a can of you-know-what.

But lets us suppose it was 3 men, legally armed, whom the agents approached. Maybe even 3 cops from out of town, or 3 soldiers back from the battlefield? What, THEN might have happened? Serious body count is not out of the question, is it?

What could the agents have done differently? How about this: One agent notes the make, model, and tag number of the vehicle. He contacts local PD, advises of a possible liquor law violation, and asks for a unit to provide backup, but to make the approach quietly.

Another agent (maybe 2 agents) makes an approach to the subject’s car, realizing their target is 3 young women whose one and only suspicious activity is carrying something that looks like a case of Bud Light. Agent(s) stands perhaps 20 feet from the car, and gestures to the driver to roll the window down. The other agents are WELL back from the scene, although positioned to take action if necessary.

What’s your bet that the driver would roll the window down, just enough to hear and be heard? I’m betting she WILL. Now the agent speaks:

“Excuse me, Ms., I’m agent Brown from the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage enforcement division. Here’s my badge (he holds it out). We thought we saw you carrying a case of beer from the super market. If it is beer, I’ll need to see some ID to establish your age. And if it is not, would you please hold the case up where I can see what it is?”

Let us assume that Liz is suspicious - not certain who the guy really is. What should SHE do? She should do what EVERY driver should do: FIRST, doors LOCKED. Then, put her hands on the top of the steering wheel, fingers extended, indicating she does not hold a weapon. And she should tell her passengers to hold their hands up in clear view, as well. We have to remember, here, that the agent has as much reason to be concerned about the people he’s dealing with, as they have reason to be concerned about the agent. And this is true no matter your gender, age, or attractive features.

But, she doesn’t do this, because she doesn’t KNOW to do this. Instead, she starts to slowly roll out, while making the panic call to 911.

What do the agents do? What they did, very stupidly, was gather around the car, ready their weapons and take other seemingly aggressive actions. What they SHOULD have done was stand back and hold up their palms, wave their arms, indicating “Stop!” And if she doesn’t stop, then they should simply stall her; stand in the way (ready to jump out of the way) gesturing to PLEASE STOP.

What happens next? The police car rolls up, THAT’s what happens next. And guess what? Liz now has someone on hand she can trust, a uniformed, sworn officer in a marked patrol car. She may even think the car is in response to her 911 call. But, no matter what she thinks, she knows she’s safe. The responding officer (one hopes, a female) is trusted by EVERYONE at the scene, and so can get everyone on the same page. Liz shows her case of water, everyone apologizes, and goes about their business. BUT, if it turns out Liz is really Lizzie Borden, then the agents have their backup.

Anyone have a problem with this?

Or shall we yammer on about the 4th amendment?

Mr/Mrs/Miss I Don't Know For Sure But Was Told............. the answer to your question is a big fat NO!

The object of the sting is to catch the store selling alcohol to underage kids. So obviously the store would not be involved or have any knowledge that they sting is taking place. The ABC agents are after the store more than the underage purchasers. You might recall Kroger lost their ABC license a while back for selling to underage kids.

> Or shall we yammer on about the 4th amendment?

Agreed, that pesky Constitution being the law is a real hassle for the government. It makes little difference anyway as even if someone might know that they have a right or two as a living, breathing human on God's green earth, they're probably not going to put up much of a fuss with all that firepower mentioned in the scenario.

Rights are just something invented by dead philosophers anyway. They don't really exist except in pretty words on paper. All of our ancestors that lived in tyranny that worked and fought so their kids could have it a little better than they did in other lands would be so happy to see us all submitting to the same kind of system that they fled 100-150 years ago.

JSGeare makes some very good points. The biggest concern would be a shootout at the ok corral over a case of beer.

There is no reason why the ABC Board cannot hold a special hearing NEXT WEEK and then promise to make changes that will not endanger the public over such a silly circumstance.

How they feel they have the right to put the entire public at risk over a
"suspected" underage purchase (a misdemeanor?) is beyond me.

Would the local police pull a gun and give chase to a litterer or a kid that stole some gum?

They were not doing a "public service" that night and that after all is what they were hired to do.

Well, Walter, I can see that YOU take your "right" of privacy very seriously - to the extent that you mask your true identity. Pardonably, this would suggest you have little faith in the amendment, and have taken matters into your own hands. Otherwise, you would disclose your identity and trust in the protection of the fourth. Seems odd, to me, that you would run to the defense of something you don't trust. But OF COURSE, the amendments are controlling on government power - not yours, or MINE.

But, let's not quibble, here. The thrust of my contribution was the actual matter at hand; a terrified youngster and a very bungled and messed up agency assault (if the incident, as reported, is accurate). That's what actually happened, and that, and things like that, need to be constructively addressed, in my opinion. To high-jack this regrettable encounter, which is experienced at the most visceral level by the victims, is a terrible injustice to the actual people involved. Everyone knows this in their gut. Things went terribly wrong. Yet YOU, and people who share your view, choose to ignore the people and exploit their misery to advance your own agenda.

Nice shot.

There is a very thin line between between this situation and the Trayvon Martin killing in Florida. Overzealous law "enforcement", guns, and a kid carrying sweets. Never thought this would happen in C'Ville.

Let's not forget that Cville PD protects its own reckless and dangerous over-response:

Don't miss the video.

ABC Bureau of Law Enforcement

The ABC Bureau of Law Enforcement is charged with enforcing the alcoholic beverage control laws and regulations in the commonwealth. ABC special agents are sworn and certified police officers, vested with statewide authority of arrest for ABC violations as well as any other Virginia criminal law violation.

There you have it....from the ABC website...they are certified police officers who have every expectation that citizens will comply with their requests to speak to them especially when they have proper ID and badges. I do believe many in the Charlottesville community prefer to heighten hysteria or panic rather than rationally think about a situation. If this was my daughter I would ask her to lock her car door, ask to see proper ID and badges and if still unsure to tell the people she is calling 911 for verification. I also would commend her for being with a friend in a very public, well lit parking lot. I wish Ms. Daly had not panicked. It is unfortunate she faced these consequences but I do not believe officers acted out of their sworn duty to uphold Virginia law. Stop making law enforcement officers the villains, most of them are risking their lives to protect us and our constitution.


Steven, are you law enforcement?

These officers should all be relieved of their badges. Period.

I wouldn't think that you would be required to show your groceries to an agent without a warrant.

Charlottesville, you never stop scaring me!

Usually your townfolk demonize women for drinking - well, this girl never purchased alcohol, but she bought water and had a gun pointed at her face because the way the men charged at her frightened her. Her reaction was reasonable; the cops reaction and behavior certainly was not.

This is what I've come to expect from a town that won't prosecute a known rapist for sexual assault. The way the cops react and behave when investigating sexual assault crimes also leaves a lot to be desired.

Hey, Rational, get a grip, here. Yes, of course, the ABC agents are sworn, full authority, etc. But should I, or you, or anyone, expect that the display of a badge is enough? Another officer may know a badge is authentic, but should I? What do I compare it to? How do I know? And how do I know in just a few seconds. I assume you know that I can design a badge and send it off to:


and become a "lawman" in a short time.

NO, badges are not enough. There must also be behavior, and a second or third source of verification. Now, of course, on the open road, where a state trooper pulls me over and asks if I know how fast I was going, that's ONE thing. But 7 strangers in a parking lot? Nadda.

Should citizens respond to ABC cops? Of course they should - but only when they have some assurance that they have the real deal, which the 7 thugs denied the victims. For some reason, the gang of 7 simply expected the ladies would accept what they said of themselves. Badges? ID's? Displayed in dim light? In a parking lot? Girls by themselves? I go with the girls, on this one. I would have done the same - call the cops. Your notion that mere authority should somehow be absorbed by the victims without substantiation is the very reason we have this issue. If you're not bright enough to understand this, then move on to a business where "trust me" is enough.

Good luck, with that.

I agree with COY BAREFOOT!!

This is the Police State that must invariably accompany the ever growing intrusion of government into all facets of life that the electorate increasingly clamors for. I hope folks realize the deal with the Devil they've agreed to. Its going to get a lot worse......

What shocked me was that we as taxpayers are paying for squads of armed cops in plain clothes running around trying to catch teenagers with beer. You should be able to buy and consume alcohol at 18. You could when I was 18, what changed?

Anybody who thinks the police are here to "protect" us hasn't been paying attention for the last 11 years. As long as there are no repercussions, this stuff will keep happening and will get worse.

The reaction of the cops was wrong on so many levels - they need to be disciplined. The girls were traumatized and I am sorry for the hell they were put through.

I, too, have two girls, one of which is going into college soon, and this is continuing to grind my gears.

This has to stop. Who is in charge of the ABC Police?

Here's a problem: Hawkins asks US, in the comment section, who is in charge of the ABC. Has it occurred to him or her to ask somebody who actually knows the answer? For heaven's sake, Hawkins, don't ask US, the opinionated psychiatric cases who post comments on news items. Ask someone who KNOWS.

And when you find out who it is, kick some butt, if you don't mind.


Did you, miss the part where they were banging on the car window trying to break the glass? They are lucky that one of the girls didn't pull out a handgun and blow their head off if the window broke. If that is how it went down two things would have occurred. An innocent student would be charged with murder and a lot of ABC cops would think twice before they did such a stupid act in the future.

This is troubling on a number of levels. This goes beyond overzealous government. I am absolutley disgusted and call upon the Governor and the Attorney General both to demand accountability. Someone at a very high level in the ABC needs to loose their job, the agents involved need to be fired and if I were the family of these children I would bring both a civil and crimainal suits.


Yes, there is a thin line between this situation and the Trayvon Martin case. Except, in that case, the 17 year old boy was killed. This 20 year old spent a night in jail.

So, there's a little difference there....

Coy Barefoot says, "not here". The flip side being that nobody in Charlottesville gives a hoot about the countless cases of police brutality that have happened elsewhere, as long as it's not young, white women driving an SUV. I mean, that is TRULY injust!!

She spent a whole night in jail and is unlikely to view law enforcement the same way again, but here's some truth: if she were black and male, she'd be dead right now.

Quit the crocodile tears. There are far worse injustices that have happened in this country. The fact that some people only get upset when it's a well-to-do white woman that is treated shabbily is disgusting.

Charlottesville, meet the police state. Police state, meet Charlottesville.

"You could when I was 18, what changed?"

America elected Ronald Reagan as President of the United States. Seriously. http://www.nytimes.com/1984/06/21/nyregion/reagan-calls-for-drinking-age...

Meanwhile, you make good points. If she were a black boy instead of a white girl, she'd be dead. Maybe this is the wake up call we need to look at EVERYTHING the police does in this city and state.

@Steven -- Apparently you are or have been a police officer and feel for your brothers of Law Enforcement. This incident was caused by the ABC agents and how they decided to approach the young ladies. First there were seven agents, they could have intercepted them as they exited the door way of the store. But no the chased them to their cars -- That would have frightened the hell out of me. Seeing dark dress men chasing me down who knows what type of perverts they are.and what they wanted. Secondly WHY did they need guns are we into shooting our teenaged children over BEER and Wine? Apparently the Commonwealth feels we need a strong hand to stop this illegal behavior of our youth. Lets send the message you buy BEER you get SHOT! DO NOT PASS GO, DO NOT COLLECT $200.00 Dollars and GO Directly to JAIL! Well STEVE you're an idiot! The ABC agents simply OVER stepped their boundaries. They have been waiting all night for that right moment. These dumb-ass Agents pumping up their imagination and getting worked up before hand, spot a suspect and the adrenaline rush starts and they rush in. What if they had shot this young woman! Then WHAT! I would be wanting that ABC agent hanging on a rope on the down town mall is what! I feel now that all seven of them need to be fired and more responsible agents put on the streets that can keep their cool and not scare the shit out of two teenage kids from college buying water and ice cream. These Agents need to be held accountable for their misjudgement and ability to keep their cool under pressure. Because if these agents continue in their career I know for a FACT they are going to shoot an innocent person because they are bored, and anxious for that arrest, and can not control the adrenaline rush they experience during these raids. These are dangerous men people. if they are not fired then at the least they should not hold a weapon give them a stun gun as a replacement at least this way they wont kill an innocent person---Especially over BEER and WINE the officers should not have been armed for this type of RAID a simple stun gun suffices especially if there are seven of them! The state of this nation is going to hell. Ever since 9/11 and the NSA established Police have gone insane. There are stories like this all across the nation not just over Beer or Wine, but for other reasons where people's Constitutional rights are invaded by police. If you ask me WHO are the real terrorist? Some towel head middle eastern threatening jihad? or our own citizens given authority as police that should not be police or in this case AGENTS to begin with because they have poor judgement and I bet don't know one word of the Constitution that they have sworn to serve. I said it before I am saying it again...The nation is going to hell. We are the PEOPLE are getting fed up with it! Especially when actions like this happen and NOTHING happens to the dumb-ass agents for their own misjudgement---they need to be held accountable for their actions too.

You people are hung up with race. This is simply about stupid white ABC security guards staking out a grocery store in trying to bring down those terrorist white female beer drinkers. Oops, it was water and ice cream. So sorry we screwed your head up for life, but it was fun for us to get all excited at the prospect of taking down you felonious beer buyers.

Steven You are a big Poser, and your comments were designed to get you some attention as a devils advocate, apologist for this incredibly bungled and mean spirited action by 7 trained "police" officers, NOT MANY truly dedicated Law Enforcement Officers would endorse this as being "OK" in fact your feeble attempts to explain away the heavy handed actions and cover up attempts label you as a wash-out from LEO employment so give it up Steven, go back to your fantasy career, what ever that may be... no one here wants to hear anything from you...

Chas, I'm saying let's show some empathy for others that don't live in Charlottesville, that don't look like what we consider to be "innocent".

I'm definitely NOT saying the cops were right. I mean, they are clearly fools. But there is a bright side. This woman is safe. No one was injured. Her record is clean.

What would be a real boon is if this case caused her and others to have real empathy for other victims of police brutality. When Coy Barefoot says, "not here", he is not saying that police brutality is wrong, but that he just doesn't want to have to think about it. What a crock.


Chill the heck out and recognize sarcasm when you see it.

ABC interview: And we really got off on drawing our weapons and trying to break your door glass, even though we couldn't because, we're, uh, pusssies. The cop-a-be that jumped on your hood and screwed up the paint, now that movie kinda was cool. Ok, we decided to arrest these thug girls because one of our dudes got his pant leg ruffled when they took off to save themselves. So, we arrested the young punk girls and made them spend the evening in jail to torment them while we thought of ways to stay out of trouble for this. We couldn't come up with anything so had to let them go.

@JSGeare -- You are my new hero! You are dead on with how things should have been handled, rather than how the bored ABC Agents with the inability to control their testosterone and adrenaline levels from going over load, and their apparent lack of training, and lack of gray matter between the ears leading them to misjudgement and the inability to control the situation on a more civilized level. Thank you for you comments above.

Mr. Cronkite: nice try.

Eric: I hope that your view mirrors what most people think.

It is NOT about the 4th amendment, a police state, or some other nonsense about how "they" are all out to get us, or about testosterone, which the thugs in this case clearly lacked.

It IS about a terribly mismanaged, screwed up operation left to the design and execution of field people who were, quite obviously, not up to the task. If they are just flat stupid, then assign them to collect tolls. But if they are possessed of intelligence and a degree of sensitivity, then train them to use those assets.

This is NOT rocket science.

> It IS about a terribly mismanaged, screwed up operation left to the design and execution of field people who were, quite obviously, not up to the task.

Bzzt. Wrong.

It's about the growing Police State in America. These cops got the idea from somewhere that it's ok to act like two-bit hoods. One of the cops, Andrew Covey, is a Virginia State Trooper that moved over to the ABC.

The one good light in this story was the attitude of the Cville PD. The young victim did say that the CPD officer that responded was the sane one of the group (I'm paraphrasing, but it was along those lines). We're fortunate to live in a town that has a more enlightened police force than seems to exist at the state and Federal level.

Cops are citizens before they're cops. We might need to re-train a generation of young cops in order to get them to remember that simple fact.

Lucky she didn't bring a puppy they could use for target practice.

I've witnessed ABC grab a student on the corner then tackle him as he tried to pull away. No badge, no identifying themselves as police. If two men grabbed me, I'd pull away too. Similar incidents happen frequently, but the victims are either too drunk or too scared to report it.

I really, really hope this one files suit against ABC and these individual "officers" (read: power-tripping bullies with a gun).

Are the words, "what was" missing from the first sentence?

All good comments.

But you're forgetting this is the ABC of Virginia. The same organization that we help fund with our tax dollars that pays for employees to sit on Facebook and Twitter looking for Virginia Bars...excuse me.. "Restaurants" (rolling my eyes) that promote happy hour specials, then fine them exorbitant amounts for trying to remain competitive.

We're talking about the same organization that enlisted local law enforcement to enter a "Restaurant" and arrest someone sitting on their bar stool after having two drinks for being "Drunk In Public." Despite no attempt to drive home, no rowdy behavior and no complaints from management of the Restaurant.

We're talking about the same organization that has gotten bartenders charged with felonies for the classic trick of blowing fire with strong alcohol. FELONIES. Ignore for a fact that its probably not the safest environment to do a fire-breathing trick, and pay attention to that word again... FELONY. These bartenders were facing 3 years in prison, a $7,500 fine and THREE FELONIES.

Why are we supporting their business plan again? Who do they help? Because I don't see a benefit to their existence except to funnel cash into MADD. The taxes are independent of the agency.

Think of the money that could be saved by disbanding ABC and leaving the dangerous policework to the ATF (the true authority having jurisdiction of the moonshine industry)

I've started a petition demanding an apology from the ABC. Not sure it will make a difference, but I'm outraged and want to do something. If you agree, please sign it and share it: http://chn.ge/14q47aD

Is ABC as aggressive when the local bars serve minors? How about following up on leads when frats serve minors? That's an easy question to answer -- it would be NO. Instead they stake out grocery store parking lots.....

Everyone thinks this young lady has a sweet lawsuit ... one would think ... but this is Virginia and don't forget, a woman died in this town and that lawsuit isn't going anywhere..... there's a lot of irony in this story -- the irony will be that she will make money for her one night of trauma yet nothing will be paid for the loss of life.....the irony that kids are served alcohol in the local bars on any given night and the bars are not fined ... and the irony that the town supports this one victim of inappropriate cop behavior when so many other women who speak out about inappropriate police investigations when they report the trauma of rape are ignored ....

First, let's go back and review a statement contained in the article above. To wit:

"The agents didn't reach the young women until they were already in the car. "Agents Brown and L. Blanks attempted to confront three youthful-appearing females in which one appeared to be carrying a suitcase of beer," says the cryptic criminal complaint."

Did the criminal complaint filed by the ABC *really* state that the young women appeared to be carrying a "suitcase" of beer? Was this: a) a typo on the part of the Hook; or b) an indication of the writing skills of the author of the ABC complaint? [A small and seemingly inconsequential error, I know, but still...]

Second, I encourage all readers to pay close attention to JSGeare's July 2 6:15pm post. He outlines well exactly how this very unfortunate situation might have been *infinitely* better managed by the ABC officers.

Third, (and note that I make no comparison to the current Zimmerman case), to those that rise to the defense of the ABC agents (whom I believed acted at the very least inappropriately to the point of irresponsibly and recklessly): What do you think may have happened had one of these young women possessed a CC permit?

Let's say for just a moment that the father of the young female driver (a college student away from home), concerned for his daughter's safety, previously ensured she had been adequately trained in the use of a personal firearm and gave her a small handgun to keep with her in her vehicle at all times.

And suppose that, upon encountering seven unknown individuals surrounding her vehicle for reasons unknown or unclear...late in the evening...yelling...one jumping on the hood of her vehicle...one with a firearm in hand...you get the picture. She moves--slowly or quickly; no matter--to seize her small handgun from, say, her glove compartment or under her seat.

Imagine for one moment what would have ensued had one of these ABC "officers" (quotes intentional) seen such an action...

The bottom line: Had these seven (pardon the expression) cop-wanna-be's managed this situation more appropriately it would not have escalated to the point that it did.

LE training at the Central VA Criminal Justice Training Academy (and all such academies) includes basic training in how to de-escalate a situation. This is especially important in responding to calls for domestic disturbances, just as it would be in attempting to investigate the (horror-of-horrors) potential purchase and/or possession of alcohol by a minor.

Remember: These were not drunk, rowdy frat boys spoiling for a fight with a cop. These were frightened young women; nothing more, nothing less.

This did not have to happen. At the very least the agents involved should be: a) formally reprimanded; and b) required to attend re-training. The ABC should concurrently review their training protocol and adjust appropriately to minimize the risk that such a situation could occur again.

BTW: Well done, Dave Chapman. At least one officer of the court was able to see this event clearly.

The question of water v. beer is irrelevant. Even if the girls DID have beer, the jack-booted tactics of these ABC brownshirts was unjustified. The 4th Amendment actually matters, people.

Unless, of course, you think all cops (or frustrated pseudo cops who flunked the FBI entrance exam) should be allowed to gang up on people who are minding their own business, and harass them whenever they want, just by flashing a badge.

That anyone with an 8th grade education and/or a 3-digit IQ would think this is ok is truly sad.

Verr are your papers fraulines? There is a var on and ve need your full cooperation. Do not make me take you back to Stalag 13 to feel the wrath of Colenel Klink. Ve have ways of making you talk.

General Burkhalter vill not like your defiance. Now exit the car Schnell schnell schnelll


nice job on another sloppy story

ABC's Facebook clarification has over 600 comments, all critical. Not even the worst of the jackboots can find it in them to support their screwup cop cousins:


Can we just raise the drinking age already? It's ridiculous that we are spending money on operations like this and treating young people like criminals.

I can appreciate many of the sentiments expressed by commenters here. But it seems to me that there's a much bigger picture.

Surely, the behaviors of the ABC officers in this incident were egregious. And the weak response from the ABC spokesperson was more than just unprofessional; it indicated that the ABC top leaders don't "get it."

In law enforcement, like in any other profession, there are "good" officers and "bad" ones (The definition and characteristics of each may well vary with the civilian and police populations. That is, police officers may well define a "good" cop and "good" cop traits very differently than civilians would.) The bad ones are those we typically read about; they're overzealous, dogmatic, aggressive, intolerant, and they like having a uniform, badge and gun. They think it gives them status, and power.

Police departments typically screen candidates for jobs; they screen for basic qualifications and credentials, and they do some psychological screening. But the job can be and often is a stressful one. And not everyone reacts well under stress. Perceptions usually narrow rather than broaden. So, take a cop who doesn't really believe in the core values and principles in the Constitution and Bill of Rights, toss in the traits of a bad cop (see above), plus a badge and a gun, and you've got the potential for some real trouble.

In the wake of 9/11, as John Whitehead at The Rutherford Institute notes, more and more police organizations, even small ones. have SWAT and anti-terrorist squads. And they are quite heavily armed. Many of their members are eager for action.

So, the question arises: What do we want our law enforcement officers (state or local police, or ABC agents, or national security personnel) to be like?

It seems to me that in a democratic republic, we want our law enforcement officers at all levels to have a deep respect for and a commitment to the Constitution of the United States, and to its embedded values. That means people who understand and believe in popular sovereignty, that "the people" are the source of governmental authority, and a social contract exists between them and the governmental structures they create. It means people who believe in and are committed to equality and justice, to freedoms for all citizens, and tolerance, and promoting the general welfare of society. It means officers who are dedicated to protecting the rights of the public, not abusing them.

See: http://www.vachiefs.org/index.php/programs/oath_of_honor/

Research studies on law enforcement officers. however, indicate a problem. For example, Wilson and Braithwaite (Psychology and Policing,1995), review the research on personality and police officers and point out that:

• "Studies of applicants for police work suggest that certain types of individuals, in particular those who are authoritarian and conservative, are attracted to police work;"

• "Cross-sectional studies examining the profiles of working police, differing in levels of experience, provide evidence for the suggestion that these personality traits are developed through the socialization with the police culture;"

• "specific traits linked to tenure within the police occupation include authoritarianism, dogmatism, conservatism, and cynicism. Each of these traits has important implications for the manner in which a police officer will typically deal with a member of the public, particularly one they suspect of involvement in an offense.”

• "The typical police officer is almost a classic example of the authoritarian personality...authoritarian officers, when in contact with civilians of low status or power,may use the power attached to the position of law enforcer in a manner that escalates rather than diminishes the likelihood of resistance."

It would seem that the behavior of the ABC agents involved in this particular incident fit those descriptors pretty well. So too the pathetic response by ABC higher-ups through their spokesperson. Siegel and Worrell (Essentials of Criminal Justice, 2011) point out that “Experts have found that the experience of becoming a police officer and the nature of the job,,,causes most officers to band together in a police subculture characterized by cynicism, secrecy, and insulation from others – the blue curtain.” So, even though they ostensibly serve "the public," when there's a serious foul-up, a breach of professional ethics,s an abrogation of rights, they circle the wagons.

That's not limited to local cases like this one. Think how hard the military worked to cover up the Mylai massacre. Or think of the military and government reaction to the release of the Pentagon papers. Or the torture at Abu Ghraib. Or to the current revelations of FBI and NSA spying (if anything, it's far worse than press reports suggest, yet simultaneously, under more restraints than previously). Indeed, there's a long, sordid history of the "intelligence" community and its distaste for democratic governance. Historian Kathryn Olmsted (Challenging the Secret Government, 1996) notes in the wake of the Church committee investigations and The Pike report ––  which documented CIA and FBI abuses and intelligence agency failures in detail –– the "intelligence community" reacted "with outrage," circled their wagons, and orchestrated a campaign claiming that the charges were "biased and distorted, inaccurate, and seriously threatened...the national security.”

Restrictions didn't last long. Olmsted writes that "When Ronald Reagan came into office in 1981, he swiftly loosened the regulations hindering the CIA and the FBI. He allowed CIA domestic spying in certain cases, permitted physical surveillance of Americans abroad, and authorized some covert actions in the United States. Most important, he appointed his campaign manager and former OSS agent William Casey to be director of central intelligence. Casey was determined to free the CIA from the fetters imposed after Watergate-and he was willing to evade and subvert the law to do so."

And after 9/11, billions and billions (nobody knows how much) of dollars were thrown at "intelligence" gathering organizations and apparatus, ostensibly to protect "the public," to promote the general safety and welfare of the people. Yet, as investigative journalist James Ridgeway observed, "officials of Bush the younger’s administration and former intelligence chiefs were on the talk shows denouncing the 'chilling effect' of the congressional investigations of the 1970s, and of subsequent halfhearted efforts to regulate the work of the intelligence agencies...When it comes to intelligence, the only thing worse than the FBI’s record is the CIA’s." But they want no regulations, no accountability. And now, we are where we are.

The question is, how do we proceed? In Charlottesville, in Virginia, and nationally.

A democratic republic is only as good as its citizens. They have to be knowledgeable. And involved. And committed to the ideals on which the nation was founded. And interested in creating "a more perfect Union." Moreover, those who choose to serve the public in official capacities have an obligation to help make that happen.

In this particular case, those public servants failed. But it’s certainly not the only failure. One need only read the papers.

How do we proceed? What do we want our public servants to be like? Pertinent questions on this July 4th eve. All of us should take a long hard look in the mirror.

Still wondering why the ABC agents didn't write down her license plate and then head into the store to check register receipts/security cameras to see whether or not the store sold beer to these women.

The Magistrate could have helped this girl out and not certified the charges against her. She would not have spent time in jail and probably it would have ended a lot better for all. I think the Magistrate's office is just as culpable in this scenario as well.

I hope those of you who routinely vote for big government aren't too dismayed at what that government spends your tax dollars on. Virginia must be a pretty wealthy state to be able to have seven!! ABC agents working a single operation, looking for underage drinking.

Apparently spending all that money on agent overtime (which I assume they're paying at 10 PM) has depleted the training fund however, since the poor boys didn't get the training they needed to deal with a desperado like Ms. Daly.

Wow, I have to say....our readers/commentors are the best. Spirited, feisty, intelligent (well, not everyone, of course. :) )...this comment thread adds a whole wealth of information and discussion to the story. Thank you.


overtime - Overtime is generally not paid during sting operations. If they are going to do a sting operation on Friday night, they work 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. instead of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

magistrate - The magistrate does not certify charges against anybody. He/she simply writes arrest warrants and conducts bond hearings. A grand jury has to certify felony charges at a later date in Circuit Court. In the case of a misdemeanor....... the magistrate writes the warrant, a cop serves the warrant on the defendant, magistrate conducts a bond hearing, and the judge hears the evidence and rules on guilt or innocence in the General District Court level (unless appealed to Circuit Court). The Magistrate system is pretty much useless now, they are simply a rubber stamp. It's been years since I have seen the magistrates refuse an arrest warrant to any police officer. The police could save the state millions statewide if they write the arrest warrrants themselves.

@ democracy:

Stellar explanation, commentary, and references!

Basic police rule: The least amount of force necessary. Guns drawn over possible beer purchase by an under age person. Please!

Back in the Hawes Spencer era this headline would have been "Terror at Teeter!" and rushed to publish last week.

man, this paper has gone downhill....

@Meanwhile ... the paper is doing fine. The town sucks.

The people who defend these ABC cops are most likely the same ones who victimize a woman IF she had been drinking and was assaulted.

Looking at the ABC website, it is clear there is a coverup going on behind the scenes. One lies and the other swears to it.

Although there are standards for cops, you really can't measure a cops performance until they are in a situation. Those that fail need counseling, training, or possibly should be reassigned to do different work or eliminated from the force. Just admit it - no amount of training can produce a good cop - the candidate has to have to have instincts, a clear head, and common sense. Not everyone is cut out for the job and I would hope ABC would expend the energy to retrain rather than cover up this incident.

"Absoflippinlutely" says Ken Cuccinelli at 5:19 p.m. today (7/3/2013) on WCHV's "Inside Charlottesville with Coy Barefoot" when asked if he would advise his five daughters to do exactly what Elizabeth Daly did on April 11 when surrounded in her car by ABC officers she could not identify as law enforcement personnel.

In the end this illustrates an important point. Undercover work is a useful tool for investigation, but nobody involved in any sort of undercover operation should ever attempt an arrest, and should be prohibited from doing so, unless and until the matter at hand involves so imminent a threat to life and limb that delay would be too risky. The problem, clearly seen here, and in a variety of other actions, is that declaring one's identity as a police officer in ambiguous circumstances leads inevitably (especially when the civilians involved are totally innocent and operating under that mind set) to the subjects' reaction of: Is this the rapist/abductor/murderer.robber ruse to keep-his-victim-off-balance act? So, thinking she's about to become the next Morgan Harrington, she beats feet. Fortunately, none of these impetuous morons popped a cap into her as they normally would have and nobody got hurt.
The bottom line is there is no justification for putting people in danger in the way these idiots did over the question of whether a 20 year old adult was or was not buying a 12 pack. The public good demands more accountability.
Personally I think the existence of an agency like the ABC with agents having police power is an arcane effrontery to a notionally free society. It is in many ways not so different from the religious police thugs roaming the streets of vile cultural backwaters like Saudi Arabia rousting women for showing a lock of hair in public.

The posts and responses on this topic have been "dead on balls accurate" (thanks Marissa Tomei) None so much, as Mr or Ms Democracy eloquently laid it out, I do have one question. Why was there no mention of this incident,in the press anywhere, until after the Commonwealth's attorney decided to drop the charges? Has the entire news media of Charlottesville been sleeping? Where was the Hook, and other local media outlets in April when this event occurred? Best wishes Ms. Daly. You did the right thing.
VABC, not so much.

@Wondering: I, too, wonder why such late press. My assumption has been that there was nothing to report, until the "fat lady sang." Pardon my use of the word, "sang."

And this leaves us, for now, with the nonsense of "Angel Eyes" and people of her ilk. Angels refers to: ". . .arcane effrontery to a notionally free society. . ." What the devil does THAT mean?

Lemme see, here:

arcane: mysterious, esoteric, known by only a few.
effrontery: audacity, temerity
notionally: Of, containing, or being a notion

OK, let me put that into simple language.

Never mind; can't do it. Can anyone?

In full disclosure, and in fairness, JSGEARE has been remarkably "dead on balls accurate" in all of her posts. Over the years on this forum, I've noticed a tendency to disparage commentors. Sometimes, I think it's just an anonymous intent to rile and inflame. Hiding behind a false name , as I do. It's easy to do. That said, Many brilliant observations have been made in light of this incident. For me, It's just not acceptable that the same news team that brings "Charlottesville Weather First" totally missed out on this story , until after the fact. I miss Hawes too!

HER? I am flattered. But, alas,I am a HE. (Last time I checked, anyway). And you can google "jsgeare" and find way more than you care to know.

Ooos, sorry about that JSGeare, I certainly meant no disrespect. I'm just a horrible typist. Anyway It's best that I be off the internet now, and on my way to Harris Teeter for some cookie dough, and some sparkling water. Thank you for your honest observations.

What I said that JSGeare struggled with, WAS already a simple sentence, and my sympathy for his narrow bandwidth. Many other readers would understand exactly what was meant...

As this thread winds down and comes to a closure in the coming days, we all have to remember that just a couple of blocks away from Harris Teeter that a young lady was abducted and murdered not long ago. Who's to say it wasn't 4 or 5 guys flashing badges and pretending to be cops then? Is there any chance Daly and her friends were NOT familiar with this abduction and murder? I think NOT!!! Is there any chance the abduction and murder subconsciously ran through their minds as their encounter with unknown people flashing badges took place? I think SO!!!! I don't think anybody can blame these girls for being scared to death.

This must not be allowed to blow over.

The ABC must be held accountable, as do the politicians who appoint their leaders.

I'm not sure exactly how to do this, but perhaps a start could be made by writing to Governor McDonnell (http://www.governor.virginia.gov/AboutTheGovernor/contactGovernor.cfm), to demand the resignation of ABC Chairman J. Neal Insley, or at least the gun-happy agents. Try not to use phrases like "evil toad."

If you're not enraged enough, visit the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control page on Facebook, and read the "clarification" of the "incident."

Raise the issue in candidate forums. Ask candidates for concrete plans of action to strengthen Fourth Amendment protections. Don't let them weasel with generalities.

This WILL GET WORSE unless we actively push to improve it.

I do feel sorry for the victim having to deal with a situation that could have been handled better. The ABC agents seem have a lot to learn about treating people decently. One would think not standing in front of a car while it is running is stuff you learning on day one. Sadly, we all live in an area where agency supervisors promote "ego based policing" of making shady arrests and writing a ticket for statistical purposes. Feel free to ask any of the decent county cops, I'm sure they will tell you.

Is there any video -- be it from the victims' cellphones, the ABC officers' cars, the on-board cameras in the City's police cars, or security cameras in the vicinity of Harris Teeter?

A few seconds of googling generates this answer to my own question:

From Bob Stroh, co-chairman of the Downtown Business Association of Charlottesville, in the Daily Progress article "Security Cameras for the Downtown Mall?“:

"[...] Barracks Road Shopping Center has endless number of cameras — any place you go."

I assume the ABC agents attempted to get these video records to bolster their case of the alleged "escape" and "assault on an officer." Why wouldn't they?

DT-Girl's post is common sense. Every refrigerator in America has a couple of beers in it. We have these gun totin' government agents running around trying to bust teenagers for drinking a beer. It's really over the top in my opinion. I would love to sit down and drink a beer with my 18 yr old daughter on our deck without fear of a SWAT team jumping the fence, shooting my dog and hauling us off to jail. And we continue to put hundreds of laws on the books every year...year after year. At some point one would think that every movement/endeavor of human capacity has been restricted in one way or another. Getting to the point where you are born in America with a straight jacket on.

Any and all discussions of video or audio recordings tickle me to death. Back in 1996, after my issuing a subpoena for 911 audio recordings and having said subpoena acknowledged several times after a long delay by the 911 dispatch center in producing them, the audio tapes were "accidentally destroyed" before being produced to myself and my attorney.

If we fast forward to 2013, there's rumor circulating around right now that a local business destroyed a video tape that might be relevant in a recent questionable death. Who knows if it is true or not, I certainly don't.

Depending upon who has custody and control of video and audio tapes, I would never count on them being produced if they prove detrimental to those who have custody and control of them.

Just like to add that I lived in Uruguay in my teenage years. They did not have any drinking laws at all. If you could reach the bar and put money on it you were served. Guess what? They did not have an underage drinking problem. Parents restricted their children in the manner they saw fit with regards to drinking. And no teenagers were starting their adult years with an underage drinking conviction.

WhoaNelly, the main intent is not to arrest underage kids buying a beer.

The ABC agents want to bust the store(s) that are selling to underage kids.

GSOE- Do you remember the HS graduation party in Earlysville, 5 ir 6 yrs ago where the mother of the boy of the house where the party was held did jail time?

Yes. Albemarle Police were involved in that, not ABC.

Breaking news on this story, The Schilling Show has posted 911 audio of the entire incident and another witness call that claims a gun was pulled.

> The ABC agents want to bust the store(s) that are selling to underage kids.

It seems like they were more interested in scaring little girls but the little girls scared them so much they had to pull a piece on them.

More Ramboneheads.

From the audio at the Schilling show site:

John, the ABC officer, says: "they tried to run over people."

Seriously?! Should anyone with this lack of prospective be carrying a gun in our midst as a sworn officer?

"Government is an association of men who do violence to the rest of us."


Based on the name of the agent that ID'ed himself in the 911 tape, this dude might be one of the ABC agents involved in this debacle. It looks like he was operating out of his usual region.


SAC John Taylor

For those who are interested, you can listen to scanner calls in real time here:


It is pretty boring.

Until it isn't.

I'd remind people that have been many, many police shootings of drivers, wherein the officer claimed the driver was attempting to run them down, and so used deadly force to protect themselves.

The girls' 911 call clearly show they were frightened at being suddenly confronted like they were and doubted the authenticity of the badges being shown.

This could have ended badly - with one or more deaths - and whether she'd bought a case of water or a case of Jack Daniels, that would've been a terrible, and unnecessary result.

VABC needs to re-think their policies, tactics, and training - before someone dies.

It took so long to drop the charges because the cops are all about saving face even when they make gross mistakes like this one. The only way it's going to stop is if these people are held liable for damages according to their actions. Being a police officer means that us, the public, are depending on you to go above and beyond in your actions.

I love how the ABC says the whole thing could have been avoided if the girls had complied with the officers. Umm yeah. The undercover officers who the girls didn't recognize. How about the whole thing could have been avoided if the officers had been in uniform?!? The police seem to get more and more overzealous. In my old high school in Goose Creek SC they had a drug raid in which they lined up a couple hundred kids along the wall in a corridor and several police had guns drawn.... and they didn't find and drugs. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nySF5U_63Cs

We are rapidly getting to the point where the police response to something is worse than the offense. Is it worth risking an officer's life for a 20 year old buying beer? (water in this case) Is it worth scaring the bejeezes out of three young women who'd just come from a rape awareness meeting? sheesh.

I think that these cops were honest cops. If they were not, they would have killed the girls and left a drop gun and said that the girls threatened them with a gun. See, here, they didn't do that, thereby proving that they are honest cops.

oh yeah, maybe stupid cops, but honest cops.

That doesn't prove anything, they can only get away with that kind of thing in the big cities, but keep defending them for behavior like this and I'm sure they'll be planting guns and drugs on everyone in no time!

Here's but one example of just how crazy policing has become:

"...at a local bar, Fairfax County, Virginia, detective David Baucum overheard the thirty-eight-year-old optometrist and some friends wagering on a college football game. 'To Sal, betting a few bills on the Redskins was a stress reliever, done among friends,' a friend of Culosi’s told me shortly after his death. 'None of us single, successful professionals ever thought that betting fifty bucks or so on the Virginia–Virginia Tech football game was a crime worthy of investigation.' Baucum apparently did. After overhearing the men wagering, Baucum befriended Culosi as a cover to begin investigating him. During the next several months, he talked Culosi into raising the stakes of what Culosi thought were just more fun wagers between friends to make watching sports more interesting. Eventually Culosi and Baucum bet more than $2,000 in a single day. Under Virginia law, that was enough for police to charge Culosi with running a gambling operation. And that’s when they brought in the SWAT team."

"On the night of January 24, 2006, Baucum called Culosi and arranged a time to drop by to collect his winnings. When Culosi, barefoot and clad in a T-shirt and jeans, stepped out of his house to meet the man he thought was a friend, the SWAT team began to move in. Seconds later, Det. Deval Bullock, who had been on duty since 4:00 AM and hadn’t slept in seventeen hours, fired a bullet that pierced Culosi’s heart."

"Sal Culosi’s last words were to Baucum, the cop he thought was a friend: 'Dude, what are you doing'?”

"In March 2006, just two months after its ridiculous gambling investigation resulted in the death of an unarmed man, the Fairfax County Police Department issued a press release warning residents not to participate in office betting pools tied to the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. The title: 'Illegal Gambling Not Worth the Risk.' Given the proximity to Culosi’s death, residents could be forgiven for thinking the police department believed wagering on sports was a crime punishable by execution."

"In January 2011, the Culosi family accepted a $2 million settlement offer from Fairfax County. That same year, Virginia’s government spent $20 million promoting the state lottery."


And the state probably made ten times that amount from gambling to spend on childhood indoctrinations and injections

Here's another, more ABC-related, example from the article cited above that gets at the issue of enculturation that I mentioned in my original comment on what kinds(s) of people go into law enforcement, and what kinds of people we need.

"Consider the bizarre case of David Ruttenberg, owner of the Rack ‘n’ Roll pool hall in Manassas Park, Virginia. In June 2004, local police conducted a massive raid on the pool hall with more than fifty police officers, some of whom were wearing face masks, toting semi-automatic weapons, and pumping shotguns as they entered. Customers were detained, searched, and zip-tied. The police were investigating Ruttenberg for several alleged drug crimes, although he was never charged. The local narcotics task force had tried unsuccessfully to get a warrant to search Ruttenberg’s office but were denied by a judge. Instead, they simply brought along several representatives of the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control and claimed that they were conducting an alcohol inspection. Ruttenberg was cited only for three alcohol violations, based on two bottles of beer a distributor had left that weren’t clearly marked as samples, and a bottle of vodka they found in his private office."

Democracy, you and I are in agreement for once.... but how can you not hold Obamas TSA ATF, IRS etc acountable? Is he not in the drivers seat now? Is it not Democrats that tightened up the Patriot act and Obamas administration continuing practices he could stop with an executive order? Are these arguments you are citing not a perfect conservative argument for smaller government.?

I think that the ABC needs to do some serious rewriting of the regulations and needs to be policed by the Governers office. There should never be a time when an officer threatens the life of a citizen for underage drinking. Never.

This situation is a perfect example of inneffective Government. If the Governer had any stones he would have ordered the head of the ABC into his office to explain to him why they all should not be fired and issue a press release expalining whos backside got kicked.

The "investigation" should have comprised of a closed door hearing with all the parties involved, and if the basic facts agreed upon then actions should have been taken. If the "facts" were in dispute then a second hearing after fact finding and witnesses were found and then actions should have been taken.

Basically in this case what we have is agreement as to what occurred and Officers who are so poorly trained and supervised they think their actions were justified.

It looks as if even when someone dies and 2 million is paid out that isn't enough of a lesson .

How bad does it have to get before the Governer actually does his job?

@ Bill Marshall:

We agree that the behavior of the ABC agents was egregiously bad. I would also agree that the NSA spying has gotten out of hand (the IRS "scandal" has been discredited...disproved). But I think we likely disagree as to why.

In my original comment I asked this: What do we want our law enforcement officers –– state or local police, or ABC agents, or national security personnel –– to be like?

And I provided an answer: It seems to me that in a democratic republic, we want our law enforcement officers at all levels to have a deep respect for and a commitment to the Constitution of the United States, and to its embedded values. That means people who understand and believe in popular sovereignty, that "the people" are the source of governmental authority, and a social contract exists between them and the governmental structures they create. It means people who believe in and are committed to equality and justice, to freedoms for all citizens, and tolerance, and promoting the general welfare of society. It means officers who are dedicated to protecting the rights of the public, not abusing them.

Then, I noted what research studies say: Wilson and Braithwaite (Psychology and Policing,1995), review the research on personality and police officers and point out that

• "Studies of applicants for police work suggest that certain types of individuals, in particular those who are authoritarian and conservative, are attracted to police work;"

• "Cross-sectional studies examining the profiles of working police, differing in levels of experience, provide evidence for the suggestion that these personality traits are developed through the socialization with the police culture;"

• "specific traits linked to tenure within the police occupation include authoritarianism, dogmatism, conservatism, and cynicism. Each of these traits has important implications for the manner in which a police officer will typically deal with a member of the public, particularly one they suspect of involvement in an offense.”

• "The typical police officer is almost a classic example of the authoritarian personality...authoritarian officers, when in contact with civilians of low status or power,may use the power attached to the position of law enforcer in a manner that escalates rather than diminishes the likelihood of resistance."

You'll notice – I hope – the negative attributes are authoritarianism, conservatism, dogmatism. These descriptors describe well members of the current Republican Party (and Tea Party).

I added this: Historian Kathryn Olmsted (Challenging the Secret Government, 1996) notes in the wake of the 1970s Church committee investigations and The Pike report –– which documented CIA and FBI abuses and intelligence agency failures in detail –– the "intelligence community" reacted "with outrage," circled their wagons, and orchestrated a campaign claiming that the charges were "biased and distorted, inaccurate, and seriously threatened...the national security.”

Restrictions didn't last long. Olmsted writes that "When Ronald Reagan came into office in 1981, he swiftly loosened the regulations hindering the CIA and the FBI. He allowed CIA domestic spying in certain cases, permitted physical surveillance of Americans abroad, and authorized some covert actions in the United States. Most important, he appointed his campaign manager and former OSS agent William Casey to be director of central intelligence. Casey was determined to free the CIA from the fetters imposed after Watergate-and he was willing to evade and subvert the law to do so."

Under George W. Bush, there were basically no warrants or FISA rulings to support the spying. Now, there are. Though, to be sure, the FISA court judges seem to just go along with most of what the government asks for. And, as Bloomberg reported, "Thousands of technology, finance and manufacturing companies are working closely with U.S. national security agencies, providing sensitive information and in return receiving benefits that include access to classified intelligence."

See: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-06-14/u-s-agencies-said-to-swap-data-...

So, where do the FISA judges come from? The Washington Post reports this:

"Surveillance court judges are selected from the pool of sitting federal judges by the chief justice of the United States, as is required by the law that established the panel. There is no additional confirmation process...All 11 of the current members were tapped by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. Ten were originally appointed to the federal bench by Republican presidents."

Are you catching my drift?

Moreover, the only U.S. Senator to vote against the Patriot Act was Russ Feingold, of Wisconsin. He warned of what would happen. He got beat by a Tea Party-backed conservative. As one blogger wrote recently, "Wisconsin's Tea Party voters ought to understand that, when they replaced Feingold with Senator Ron Johnson in 2010, they traded a civil-libertarian prescient in the abuses he anticipated with someone who is worthless on this issue." Too, the only senators now speaking out now are Democrats, Ron Wyden and Mark Udall. Both are on the Senate Intelligence Committee.

And they are saying that they " 'spent a significant portion of 2011 pressing intelligence officials to provide evidence of [the bulk email collection program's] effectiveness' before it was shut down that year after evidence was never presented. Furthermore, they say that 'intelligence agencies made statements to both Congress and the Court that significantly exaggerated this program’s effectiveness,' adding that the disingenuous claims led them 'to be skeptical of claims about the value of the bulk phone records collection program' as well."

When Bush ran for re-election in 2004, there were two main elements to his campaign: national security and opposition to gay marriage (which his boy Karl Rove got placed on state ballots across the country, especially in swing states). Those who opposed the administration, especially on war and domestic spying were labeled as "soft" on national security and non-supportive of "the troops." When "the Protect America Act of 2007 passed the Senate 60-28; Democrats split with 17 voting in favor and 28 against, while Republicans were unanimous in support. In the House, Democrats opposed it by a wide 41-181 margin, while Republicans voted for it 186-2."

Obama is not a perfect president. That's a truism. And there's plenty of blame to spread around. But I think the record is clear as to who should get the bulk of it.

Democracy... can we at least ageee that regardless of who is to blame in the past,for the next three years it is Obamas job to fix?

My "fear" of the NSA and such is accountability and this situation is a prime example. No one was disiplined UNTIL the press got too bad. So today it is ABC agents and college students.. tomorrow it is a NSA contractor mad because some guy is dating his EX and he uses the computer access to install kiddy porn or wipe his bank account clean or put him on a terrorist watch list.

And it does not have to be the NSA.. Does anyone think that inspectors or permit officials.DMV workers or even cops can't mess with some untraceble computer info to lose your building permit or flag your license or suspend your tags. You have to wonder how many "mistakes" are actually "mistakes"

here's a link or url to a news story I just came across. ya' gotta see this:


I hope the link or url (if it doesn't turn into a link) works

dem boys love dem swat teams.

> But I think the record is clear as to who should get the bulk of it.

In the real world, the incumbent president is the one responsible for the actions of his Executive Branch.

George Bush is a war criminal because of his crimes and the crimes he allowed his underlings to commit.

Obama is also a war criminal because of his crimes and the crimes he allows his underlings to commit.

Each of these criminals, Bush and Obama, need to be held accountable and punished for their crimes.

As a matter of fact, Obama is about to be indicted as a war criminal as Bush and his underlings have already been:


Chapman should prosecute these law enforcement officers for abuse of power. But Chapman is in the tank. Charlottesville is corrupt beyond return. There's no oversight whatsoever and that is why case after case of law enforcement and judiciary abuse goes unchallenged. Absolute power corrupts absolutely couldn't be truer for C'ville. We all know who the puppet master is.

Abolish the ABC we don't need state controlled alcohol.

Bill, you are correct. Law enforcement resources are abused every day to retaliate against people. I recall a case where a 72 hour (3 day) emergency protective order was entered into the system as 365 days instead. This so called "mistake" served it's purpose, the individual named on the EPO was visited by the Virginia State Police at a local gun shop while attempting to purchase some new firearms. When the situation was finally cleared up, the Virginia State Police called the other agency a bunch of bumbling idiots. It seems he knew them well. LOL!!

And fire that pig at 911 communications for having a good chuckle right after he states the girls didn't know they were pigs and were pretty scared heh heh heh! Also nbc 29 news claims it did not edit the 911 tape but there's a part right before "that's enough" that was never aired on the news but is on youtube, (that's the part where they drag the girls out of the car and throw them on the ground).

I would argue that the way the state goes about enforcing this particular law is more reckless and irresponsible than the behavior - consuming alcohol when you're less than 21 years old - it is meant to prevent.

How much does it cost taxpayers to have at least six officers sit in a parking lot all day and evening to wait for a 19 or 20 year-old to buy a case of beer?

John Whitehead was spot on when he said officers enforcing this law should have to act on the higher standard of probable cause rather than reasonable suspicion. When did simply looking young and buying something at a grocery store become all the reason the state needs to trample on our constitutional rights?

More importantly, why do so many of us accept it? Some folks would argue that government intrusion into our personal lives is OK as long as we don't have anything to hide, and we should feel safer for it. It's there to protect us.

I wonder how safe being jailed for doing nothing wrong made this young woman feel.

Meanwhile, Gov. McDonnell must feel like a real douchebag now that his 21 year-old son was arrested for being drunk and disorderly on the corner the other day. Maybe he should push a law raising the drinking age so it doesn't happen again.

its not just here


Chapman should resign. Total abuse of his office. How could he justify filing charges after listening to the 911 call and then discovering it was water that was purchased. OUTRAGE!

This is the same way his corrupt office treats UVA student rape victims, not to overstate that the UVA forensic nurse who never seems to find evidence was married to his deputy. Total disregard to the rule of law.

@ Bill:

Let's agree that Obama is going to have to fix all the problems bestowed on him from the Bush years: a broken economy, millions of job losses, two unfunded wars - one of which was wholly unnecessary, huge deficits and national debt, a crumbling infrastructure, AND the intelligence abuses. It'd be nice if Republicans would (1) at least acknowledge what they did, and (2) be willing to assist in fixing the mess.

But they won't do either one. Worse, they demand even more of the same idiotic policies that caused the disorder.

Think about it. Bill Clinton cleaned up for Reagan and Bush1. They quadrupled the total national debt - more than 200 years in the making – in only 12 years. Clinton raised taxes (mostly on the wealthy) without a single Republican vote of support. They claimed it would "ruin" the economy, Instead, it boomed. Everybody was better off.

But Bush2 reverted to Reagan-era supply-side policies. Big deficits and debt followed. Bush2 deregulated Wall Street, and lassiez-faire allowed the big bankers and hedge-funders to run wild. They nearly brought down the nation's economy. But no one has yet been held accountable for any of it.

In Virginia some years back, Jim Gilmore plunged the state into a multi-billion-dollar fiscal hole. Mark Warner (a Democrat_ had to fix it. The state sales tax was raised slightly. Republicans screamed bloody murder. And later they cut the estate tax on the wealthy.

We're now finding out more and more about just how willing Bob McDonnell and his wife were willing to sell themselves to special interests. Certainly, there are Dems that do too (And Obama has taken his share of corporate cash). But "selling out" the public interest seems to be the ideological foundation of the Republican Party (national, and in the Commonwealth).

See: http://www.timesdispatch.com/news/state-regional/government-politics/sou...

It'd be really nice – not to mention conducive to the well-being of the country – if politicians and the constituents they represented they represented (and policie officers too, the original thread of this discussion) were committed to the democratic principles of popular sovereignty, equality, justice, freedoms for all citizens, tolerance, and promoting the general welfare.

Yet, if you look behind voter suppression efforts, denial and restriction of rights to gays and lesbians and minorities and women, Supreme Court decisions that turn precedent and Congressional legislation aside, and policies that favor the rich and the connected over everybody else, invariably you find conservatives.
North Carolina is a prime example. See: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/10/opinion/the-decline-of-north-carolina....

Given the make-up of the current House of Delegates in the General Assembly, and given the Republican state ticket –– likely the most conservative ever with Ken "Taliban" Cuccinelli, E.W. "Crazy" Jackson, and Mark "I Detest the Constitution" Obenshain –– one can only wonder at the damage these nimrods would do if they got their hands on more power.

As I understand it the charges were nolle prossed, not dismissed. These are charges that the commonwealth is choosing not to prosecute at this time, but can be brought back up at a later date.. The charges need to be dismissed and the arrest record expunged.
These were bogus charges used to cover the agents' behaviors. Maybe the next seminar can be named Take Back the Night and Go to Jail. There were crimes committed that night but not by the students. There was a gun brandished, property damaged, and an extensive cover up that began by jailing Ms. Daly. It will take a lot of continued outcry from the community to get this mess clean. And each little correction to this issue will only be gained inch by inch by public pressure. It is a marathon, not a sprint.