Lawyers reached a plea deal recently for Christopher Beatty, the North Carolina veteran arrested after a law enforcement officer thought his Arizona Iced Tea was filled with alcohol.
In case you aren’t familiar with Beatty’s story, here is what took place. On April 27, 2013, Beatty was outside of a North Carolina ABC store while waiting for a friend to arrive. He was drinking an Arizona Iced Tea. As he was outside, an undercover law enforcement officer approached Beatty and asked if there was alcohol in his iced tea can. The officer failed to show his badge before asking Beatty the question.
Beatty refused to let the officer take his can. He and a friend recording the incident insisted that the can was just a can of iced tea and that, accordingly, they were under no obligation to prove otherwise to the officer.
The officer apparently didn’t like Beatty’s response. He took him to the ground and handcuffed him for trespassing.
Now, almost a year later, attorneys involved in the case are proposing a plea deal to Beatty. They want him to accept misdemeanor charges of trespassing and resisting an officer. The charges would place Beatty on probation for a year and order him to perform 24 hours of community service, undergo a mental health assessment, and be subject to warrantless searches and drug testing. His charges would then be dropped after one year.
Beatty, who maintains he never did anything wrong, is in a bind. The charges already cost him his job, he says. If he doesn’t accept the plea deal, the trial and his charges will remain open for another year. This will further prevent him from finding a new job.
"It would get it dismissed at the end, but I would still have to take responsibility for my actions, and I felt like I did nothing wrong," Beatty said.
“I did too much for my country for this to happen to me,” he said in an interview. “I served over five years in the military. I went to Afghanistan. It’s time for somebody to stand up and do what’s right for me and everybody else that this happens to.”