ABC Chairman Releases Statement on Review of Cville Incident
Virginia State Police are now involved in the aftermath of an Alcoholic Beverage Control raid involving undercover agents and frightened University of Virginia students.
After a statement was released late Monday night from ABC Chairman J. Neal Insley, we now know Virginia State Police will conduct an independent administrative review. The Virginia Department of ABC is already in the midst of an internal review. There is no word on when either review will be complete.
Twenty-year-old Elizabeth Daly and two of her roommates had bought sparkling water, cookie dough and ice cream when they were approached outside the Harris Teeter in the Barracks Road Shopping Center by undercover agents mistaking the water for beer. One of them even drew his weapon, but the women say they didn't realize they were agents.
Daly was arrested after trying to drive away and allegedly hitting the officers - but those charges were dropped.
Delegate David Toscano released a statement Tuesday, applauding the Virginia ABC's independent administrative review.
Statement from VA ABC Chairman J. Neal Insley:
Per our previous statement, the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) is continuing its review into the April 11, 2013 incident in Charlottesville, which resulted in the arrest of a UVA student.
The review began on June 28, 2013, after the City of Charlottesville Commonwealth's Attorney nolle prossed the charges.
"Once the charges were nolle prossed, I immediately directed the internal review of the circumstances leading up to the young lady's arrest," said ABC Chairman J. Neal Insley. "Last week, after consultation with the Secretary of Public Safety, and with her concurrence, I requested the assistance of an impartial third party, the Virginia State Police. I asked them to look into the matter and they agreed to conduct an independent administrative review of the facts surrounding the incident."
"As agency head, I take personal responsibility in making sure all facts of the case are fully evaluated and our department is held to the high standards of service the Commonwealth expects and demands of us," said Insley.
We take all citizen complaints very seriously. As previously stated, consistent with our practice of making every effort to improve our law enforcement procedures based on experience, rather than wait for the results of the review, ABC has implemented an immediate change in operational practice. This change should help alleviate some of the concerns identified through public feedback. In the future, when conducting these types of operations, there will be at least one ABC Agent in a police uniform to act as a contact person once the plain clothes agent has developed reasonable suspicion or probable cause to approach individual(s) they believe have violated the law.
It is the Department's belief that this change will further clarify the nature of the stop by law enforcement and help put citizens who are approached at ease regarding the identity of the officer or officers. The agency will determine whether additional policy or procedural changes are appropriate following the reviews.
Neither VA ABC nor VA State Police will be able to comment on the reviews until they are completed. Once they are completed, we will provide further information.
Statement from Delegate David J. Toscano:
CHARLOTTESVILLE - Delegate David J. Toscano released a statement today in response to ABC Board Chairman J. Neal Insley's call for a Virginia State Police investigation of the April 11, 2013 incident in Charlottesville:
"Chairman Insley's request for an impartial, third party review of the incident involving ABC law enforcement personnel is encouraging," said Toscano. "A number of questions about this incident have been raised, and I believe this independent investigation by Virginia State Police will provide insight as to what went wrong, and how ABC can improve and implement better protocols and procedures to ensure that an incident like this does not occur again."
Delegate Toscano recently sent a letter inquiring about the proper protocols and procedures to Shawn Walker, Director of Enforcement at ABC. In his letter, Mr. Toscano inquired about what policies are currently in place for ABC law enforcement to detain citizens when enforcement officers suspect individuals may be underage and in possession of alcohol, and specifically, what procedures are in place to detain individuals already in motor vehicles. Additionally, Mr. Toscano inquired as to the specific training ABC law enforcement personnel receive in handling their weapons, and what protocols are in place to determine when an officer of ABC should unholster their weapon.
"I have lived in this community for over 30 years, and do not recall an incident like this during that time," wrote Toscano. "I appreciate the role that ABC plays in enforcing the laws against underage purchase, possession, and consumption. But I am concerned about the apparent overreaction of the agents during the April 11 event."