In some parts of the world, changing water into wine would be considered a gift. Divining alchemy, they would call it. They would lift you on their shoulders and crowd-surf you back into the kitchen… where they would chain you to the sink and put you to work for the rest of the party.

But in Virginia, damn man, in Virginia changing water into wine will get your ass shot. Or it will get you arrested. Or it will get you a $212,500 settlement when the state finally figures out, “Hey, this is just water.”

In 2013, UVA college student Elizabeth Daly was arrested after Virginia’s Alcoholic Beverage Control mistakenly thought she bought beer instead of water. As an occasional Bud Lite drinker, I can see how that can be confusing. The ABC cops descended upon her vehicle. One allegedly tried to bust her window with a flashlight. Daly says she didn’t see the badges, and attempted to escape in her SUV. When law enforcement caught up with her, they charged her with resisting arrest and assaulting an officer because her SUV apparently brushed up against one of the officials.

Later, all the charges were dropped because, again, SHE BOUGHT WATER.

I could do a whole thing about how this kind of behavior is inappropriate from law enforcement even if she had bought a beer. They thought they were trying to take down an underage drinker, not a freaking grizzly bear. Surely, the VA Beverage Cops had something better to do that night, like, oh, I don’t know, arresting the person who sold her the beer? At the very least the seller could have said, “Guys, it was water, check the receipt… what the hell are you people smoking?”

Daly eventually sued the Commonwealth of Virginia for $40 million. NOBODY PUTS BABY IN A CORNER. State Attorney General Mark R. Herring announced the $200K settlement yesterday:

Mr. Herring said the settlement was not an admission of wrongdoing by any of the parties in the lawsuit.

Dude… your guys busted a girl for buying water. I’m not sure you need “admit” wrongdoing when your actions are so very clearly wrong.

The go away money seems appropriate to me. You’re not going to get $40 million from the state after hitting an officer with your SUV. But turning “I ran from the cops” into $212,500 is a pretty neat parlor trick. That’s a lot of beer money.

Virginia, student settle ABC lawsuit for $212,500 [Washington Times]


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