Virginia's Department of Alcohol and Beverage Control plans to revise the way the agency uses plain-clothes officers This all comes after a strange incident involving the arrest of a UVA student from Henrico in a store parking lot in Charlottesville.
Newly released 911 tapes from the night of the confrontation, seem to indicate that both the students who were targeted and a witness who was watching from afar had no idea who these "armed", ABC agents were.
As a group of men they didn't know surrounded the car of Henrico's Elizabeth Daly and her roommate Anne Downey.
"We're surrounded by people," said Downey to a 911 operator.
The two women had no idea what they were up against.
"We don't know if they are police officers or not," said Downey. "We're freaking out. Oh my God. I'm so sorry!"
At the time Downey didn't know the men were ABC officers looking to arrest her roommate Daly, because they thought she had purchased alcohol underage.
"Well they were yelling at us and then we didn't know if they were real police officers or not because they weren't in uniform," she said frantically into the phone.
The problem- Daly had bought sparkling water not booze. So the students had no clue why the officers had set their sights on them.
"They started holding up badges but we didn't look at the badges because we were freaking out and started driving away," she said.
Eventually the ABC officer gets on the phone himself.
The 911 operator asked "Hey this is 911. Are you…who are you guys with?" To which the agent replied, "This is John Taylor with ABC."
A separate unidentified witness also called 911 worried that she had seen gun pulled, and didn't know who was involved.
The arrest and subsequent charges against Daly have drawn major criticism in Charlottesville and across the country. Friday night ABC officials released a lengthy statement not addressing the incident directly, but promising that in the future a uniformed officer would be present if an arrest is going to be made.
A policy move that the agency hopes will prevent confusion like this incident and prevent something even worse from happening in the future.
This all happened back in April- and Daly spent the night in jail-- charged with assault and battery as well as eluding police. Those charges were dropped at the end of June.
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