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VA. Lawmaker Sees Problems with ABC Following UVA Arrests

Posted: Updated: Apr 02, 2015 06:31 PM
Delegate David Toscano Delegate David Toscano
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Political leaders are speaking out Thursday in the wake of the controversy over University of Virginia student Martese Johnson's arrest.

57th District Delegate David Toscano (D) says he and other community members can't understand why Alcoholic Beverage Control agents are detaining students. The delegate feels that should be left up to Charlottesville police.

Johnson's arrest is causing people to draw comparisons to a case from 2013 involving ABC agents and UVA student Elizabeth Daly.

Del. Toscano says the problem is with the agency.

“It's very clear, based on the 2013 incident at the Harris Teeter, that they overreact and they may be putting themselves in positions where it creates problems for them and our citizens," he said.

Toscano says he fully supports the independent investigation of Johnson's arrest requested by Governor Terry McAuliffe.

In both 2012 and 2013, ABC officers investigated more than 9,000 criminal cases. They made more than 1,800 arrests in 2012, and more than 2,000 in 2013.


Statement from Delegate David Toscano on ABC arrest on the UVA Corner:

"I am very concerned about the events that occurred at the UVa Corner in the early morning hours of March 17, 2015. The photos are very disturbing, as are the videos that I have viewed. At this point, it is unclear why the ABC agents took any action against this young man. I fully support the independent investigation that has been initiated by the Governor and the Secretary of Public Safety. The Governor's office has assured me that this will be conducted and concluded expeditiously.

"All of the information I have to date suggests that these were actions taken by ABC agents and NOT by the Charlottesville Police Department or UVa Police Department. So far as I know, Charlottesville and Albemarle officers arrived at the scene AFTER the ABC agents made the arrest and were engaged in helping calm the crowd. I know how much attention the leadership of our Charlottesville, Albemarle, and UVa police departments pay to the civil rights of our citizens. The continued overreaction by ABC law enforcement personnel in these cases is shocking.

"It is clear, based on the 2013 incident involving ABC actions against a student at the local Harris Teeter as well as from the recent events, that ABC policies, protocols, and training are inappropriate for dealing with these kinds of cases, and state and local leadership must take all efforts to enact reforms to protect the civil rights of our citizens as they enforce the laws of the Commonwealth.

"The young man himself has called for civility and calming and I agree. But we must remain vigilant in gathering the facts and readdressing the legitimate concerns raised by this incident."

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