In 2013 a University of Virginia student, Elizabeth Daly, was arrested for fleeing police and assault on police. She had just bought a 12-pack of LaCroix sparkling water and undercover agents of the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control attempted to contact her in the parking lot.
Of course, none had on anything that identified them as police and one of the morons drew his pistol while another of the morons tried to bust in the window.
Naturally Ms. Daly was terrified, believing that she was being attacked by criminals. So she tried to flee in her SUV, was arrested, and jailed. The charges were dropped by someone with more sense than the officers and Daly filed suit.
Now the State of Virginia has settled the suit for $212,500 while admitting no wrongdoing. Yeah, right.
Virginia settled the suit because they had just lost a motion for dismissal based on qualified immunity and a motion to quash a subpoena for the internal investigation conducted over the incident. First, the court found that the amount of force used exceeded that which would be appropriate for a Terry stop and that the agents would need to show probable cause, not mere reasonable suspicion. Second, the internal report likely identified the two agents who violated policy and were disciplined by the agency. Combined, the State could see the writing on the wall and decided to settle.
The agents that thought this was a good idea were Special Agents Lauren Banks, Armon Brown, John Cielakie, Andrew Covey, Jonathan Pine, and Kevin Weatherholtz. The supervisor present was Special Agent in Charge John Taylor.
The state has since changed its policies and procedures for these type operations, and the entire ABC has been under review, including legislative proposals to strip the agency of its law enforcement function.