Student Sues Officers That Arrested Her For Buying Bottled Water Mistaken For Beer

| by Will Hagle

Last April, University of Virginia student Elizabeth Daly purchased a case of bottled water, cookie dough and ice cream from a supermarket intended to be used at a sorority function. When she entered the supermarket’s parking lot with her recently-purchased items, she was rapidly approached by a group of state Alcoholic Beverage Control agents who were dressed in street clothes.

The ABC agents believed Daly’s bottled water to be beer, and they attempted to accost her. She claims that one brandished a gun, and another jumped on the hood of her car in an attempt to stop her from starting the vehicle. Because the agents were not wearing uniforms and Daly was unaware of who they were or why they would be attempting to arrest her for purchasing bottled water, she attempted to flee the scene. 

“They were showing unidentifiable badges after they approached us, but we became frightened, as they were not in anything close to a uniform. 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 wrote in her account of the incident, according to the Daily Progress.

Daly was ultimately arrested for the incident, and she spent the night in Albermarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail for her otherwise innocuous actions.

Although the felony charges of assaulting law enforcement officers and evading police against Daly were ultimately dropped, the student has since filed a lawsuit against the state. According to Campus Reform, Daly is represented by James Thorsen of Marchent, Thorsen, Honey, Baldwin & Meyer, and she is seeking “unspecified damages.”