Last April, late one night, three female UVA students were walking through the darkened parking lot from Harris Teeter to their car, having bought a few things for a fundraiser, when they realized they were being followed by several people. As they got to their car, one of them drew a gun, and another person jumped on the hood of the car. The terrified girls locked the doors as the assailants demanded that they get out. They fled in the car, calling 911. Shortly after they fled, they were pulled over by a vehicle with sirens and a light. Safety.
Or not. They were pulled over by their assailants: plainclothes Alcohol Beverage Control officers who wrongly suspected they had purchased a 12-pack of beer. The driver, 20-year-old Elizabeth Daly, was arrested and jailed on charges of assaulting an officer and eluding police. As K. Burnell Evans writes in the Daily Progress, Commonwealth’s Attorney Dave Chapman—up for reelection in November—dropped the charges against Daly yesterday, but the student remains upset and confused by the whole experience. None of the agents are named in the story, and the ABC refused to discuss the case with the paper.
The story has gotten significant attention in the 12 hours since it was published, and seems like the kind of piece liable to get a great deal of national attention in the coming days. Here’s hoping that the outcome of that is that the ABC is made to answer for what in the world they were thinking, because there are so many levels on which this debacle was a terrible idea.