Update: VA Alcohol Beverage Control Keystone Kops to pay up? - Granite Grok

Update: VA Alcohol Beverage Control Keystone Kops to pay up?

LaCroix sparking waterBack in June, I posted about Elizabeth Daly who was pursued by a pack of nitwits from the Virginia Alcohol Beverage Control agents  – over water bottles:

More and more, Government workers are making us believe by their actions that we Citizens (and Parents) are the problem to be taken care of and solved.  Now, this real story I had seen before, but who can pass up and putting in a line like this from NH’s own Mark Steyn to introduce it?…

…When a half-dozen men and a woman in street clothes closed in on University of Virginia student Elizabeth Daly, 20, she and two roommates panicked.  That led to Daly spending a night and an afternoon in the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail. Her initial offense? Walking to her car with bottled water, cookie dough and ice cream just purchased from the Harris Teeter in the Barracks Road Shopping Center for a sorority benefit fundraiser.  A group of state Alcoholic Beverage Control agents clad in plainclothes approached her, suspecting the blue carton of LaCroix sparkling water to be a 12-pack of beer. Police say one of the agents jumped on the hood of her car. She says one drew a gun. Unsure of who they were, Daly tried to flee the darkened parking lot.

Well, it looks like these power hungry para-military folks may be serving up a big pay day for the college co-eds that so dastardly thought that those comestibles were EVIL.  The HORROR of it – SUGAR TERRORISTS!  Obesity Mongers!  From the Daily Mail (emphasis mine, reformatted):

Student, 20, sues for $40MILLION after being hauled from her car at gunpoint and arrested for buying beer underage when she only bought WATER

A University of Virginia student arrested by Alcoholic Beverage Control agents who wrongly believed she’d illegally bought beer when in fact she only had bottled water is seeking $40 million in a lawsuit filed Tuesday.  Elizabeth K. Daly, 21, alleges malicious prosecution, six counts of assault and battery and failure to appropriately train ABC agents in the suit which names the state and seven agents involved in her arrest.  Daly was arrested on April 11, 2013 when ABC agents confronted her outside of a Charlottesville supermarket…

…Daly’s lawsuit states that she now suffers a tremor in her right hand as well as intense anxiety and a host of other problems following the incident, CBS DC reported.  She further claimed that both she and her parents ‘have incurred significant legal, medical, and other costs, and will continue to do so in the future due to the malicious, intentional’ and negligent actions of the agents.   The state has deemed the case ‘incredibly unfortunate,’ according to a spokesman for Attorney General Mark Herring.   ‘As this case proceeds, the Attorney General’s office will defend the Commonwealth’s interests and work to ensure a just and reasonable outcome,’ said spokesman Michael Kelly.   In November, the ABC admitted that the agents violated department policy during the arrest.   The agency said corrective measures against the agents had been taken but declined to specific steps were taken, as policy prohibits the release of individual personnel information and disciplinary proceeding results.

Step #1 is that ALL of their names should be immediately published – and the wording of the AG’s office should have been not “incredibly unfortunate” but “incredibly STUPID” – so there is no arguing that the incident actually happened and these “law enforcement agents wannabees” actually did it.  This is what happens when non-LEO agencies decide they should expand and move into the guns and ammo biz.  Hasn’t the simple idea of “hey, maybe we should just use REAL cops on these” flashed through their heads – even once in a while?

Step #2 – “Incredibly unfortunate” – guilt has already been admitted.  There should be a waiving of official indemnity in this case for those agents – they should not be allowed to hide behind their shields.  Further, their BOSSES should be on the line as well – this incident showed a horrific lack of discipline and that falls on management’s shoulders, not necessarily the agents.

Step #3 – as it stands, if Miss Daly wins, it will not be the agents that will be paying the price – but the taxpayers.  Yes, I recognize that the Employer in this case is the State of Virginia and it is the Employer that is the one that is ultimately responsible so the State would be the paying entity.  However, when you think carefully about this, it is we citizens (at least those in Virginia) that are the “employers of the Employer”.  So there is that “up the ladder” bit as well – which has at least an insurance cost to taxpayers if not some portion of that $40 Million (if it stands up).  But Step #3 should have a component in which the agents are on the hook financially as well to a degree that will hurt (but not destroy).  They actually didn’t just act “negligently” but stupidly.  This is a reflection of “anything that moves, nail it”; the old LEO of “to serve and protect” seems to be morphing, more and more, into an “us and them, and them is guilty AND dangerous so all action is permissible” affairs.  We’ve mentioned the huge uptick of the militarization of our police in the hardware area – that is seeping into the ethos as well.

Again, when the Federal Dept. of Education is buying shotguns and the like, our society’s governors have gone off the rails.  It seems like every department has gone “me too!  me too!” when there is little to no need at all.  In effect, each of these departments, along with a mammoth sized Dept. of Homeland Security’s security forces have all but create a federal police department and no wonder ordinary schlubs like us keep thinking about Obama’s words:

 We cannot continue to rely only on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives that we’ve set. We’ve got to have a civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded.

Hopefully cases like this may start to further swing society’s mindset.  And his words keep still bothering me – lots.  Because we don’t.  Banana republic? They do.  Not in a free society.