Virginia Student Gets $212,500 Settlement After Water Mistaken for Beer

A University of Virginia student who was arrested after her purchase of water was mistaken for beer will receive a $212,500 settlement from the commonwealth of Virginia.

Attorney General Mark R. Herring announced the settlement Wednesday night with Elizabeth Daly, who had filed a $40 million federal lawsuit against agents with the state Alcoholic Beverage Control.

Daly fled in terror outside a Charlottesville supermarket in April 2013 when her vehicle was swarmed by state ABC agents who mistook her just-purchased carton of sparkling water for beer.

According to the lawsuit, badges worn around the casually dressed agents' necks were not clearly visible and the defendants did not verbally identify themselves as officers. The agents banged on the vehicle and shouted demands that Daly roll down the window and that she not start the engine. Daly, who claims she was frightened, did not comply.

One agent tried to break the window with his flashlight, and after another officer pulled a gun, one of Daly's two passengers shouted that the badges were fake and implored the driver to "go, go, go," according to the lawsuit.

Daly was charged with eluding police and assaulting a police officer after her SUV grazed two of the agents. The arrest provoked a public outcry, and the charges were dropped.

Her attorney, James B. Thorsen, didn't immediately return a telephone message left at his Richmond office Thursday morning.

"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 case to trial, I believe we have reached such an outcome."

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

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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