Sparkling Water Bubbles Up Controversy

Decorative Scales of Justice in the Courtroom

Courtroom

Elizabeth Daly, a student at the University of Virginia says she fled in terror when several undercover officers aggressively swarmed her vehicle after leaving a local supermarket. The officers thought she had illegally purchased beer which they later found out was sparkling water they had mistaken for beer. Ms. Daly was in her car with several friends when plainclothes agents surrounded the vehicle and began banging on the windows ordering her to roll the windows down. After one of the agents drew his gun and another jumped on the hood of the car, Elizabeth said she panicked and was unsure if the officers were indeed law enforcement agents. Ms. Daly panicked and fled the scene in complete fear, grazing two of the agents.

Elizabeth later filed a $40 million dollar federal lawsuit against agents with the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. The lawsuit stated that Elizabeth had bought a carton of sparkling water at a local supermarket in April 2013, which agents had mistaken for beer. The lawsuit went on to state that the badges officers were wearing around their necks were not clearly visible, and that they did not identify themselves as officers. The officers were banging on the vehicle and shouting, demanding that she open the windows, one officer began trying to break the window with a flashlight and another drew a gun, in all the chaos Elizabeth panicked as a friend told her to “go, go, go” according to the lawsuit.

Ms. Daly was originally charged with eluding police and assaulting a police officer, when her vehicle grazed two of the agents. After a careful investigation into the matter two of the officers were found to have violated policy by drawing a weapon and striking the passenger window with a flashlight. The charges against Elizabeth were later dropped and the parties recently reached a $212,500 settlement with the state of Virginia. “My goal throughout this case has been to reach a resolution that is just and fair for all parties, including Ms. Daly, the ABC and its agents, and the commonwealth and its taxpayers,” Herring said. “After careful consideration of the potentially significant costs of taking this to trial, I believe we have reached such an outcome” said Virginia Attorney General, Mark Herring.

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