University of Virginia student arrested in near fatal mix-up with police, for buying bottled water

(DAILY KOS)  How does one get arrested for buying bottled water and ice cream? Twenty-year-old Elizabeth Daly, a student at the University of Virginia, found out the hard way:

A group of state Alcoholic Beverage Control agents clad in plainclothes approached her, suspecting the blue carton of LaCroix sparkling water to be a 12-pack of beer. Police say one of the agents jumped on the hood of her car. She says one drew a gun. Unsure of who they were, Daly tried to flee the darkened parking lot.”They were showing unidentifiable badges after they approached us, but we became frightened, as they were not in anything close to a uniform,” she recalled Thursday in a written account of the April 11 incident.

“I couldn’t put my windows down unless I started my car, and when I started my car they began yelling to not move the car, not to start the car. They began trying to break the windows. My roommates and I were … terrified,” Daly stated.

Who wouldn’t be terrified in that situation? Never mind that the entire operation seems like an excessive use of force for what they (wrongly) believed was a 12-pack of beer. Really? We need police to pull guns on 20-year-olds allegedly buying beer in a college town?

And even though it turned out that Elizabeth was carrying a 12-pack of LaCroix sparkling water, she was jailed overnight and initially charged with three felonies:

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

Thankfully, Charlottesville Commonwealth prosecutors withdrew the felony charges this week, which could have sent Elizabeth to prison for up to five years. But, what kind of world do we live in where police think it is appropriate to pull a gun on a 20-year-old college student who they think has purchased a 12-pack of beer? It’s the very definition of excessive force.


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