UVA Student Wins $215,000 In Lawsuit After Cops Arrest Her For Water They Thought Was Beer

Score one for the college kids of the world. In April 2013, University of Virginia student Elizabeth Daly was arrested for buying what the cops thought was beer while underage. Except it wasn’t beer: It was sparkling water. The cops arrested her anyway, but later dropped the charges and expunged her record. Here’s details of what happened via NBC Philadelphia:

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.

She was understandably pissed after the incident and had the resources to lawyer the fuck up against the Commonwealth of Virginia, suing the state for $40 million in a federal lawsuit. Today the Attorney General of Virginia announced that they have settled the lawsuit, with Daly being awarded $215,000:

Attorney General Mark R. Herring announced that late this evening the Commonwealth of Virginia reached a settlement with Elizabeth Daly in her $40 million lawsuit against several agents of the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC.) Under the terms of the agreement, Ms. Daly will receive a settlement of $212,500 and a letter from the ABC Board explaining the circumstances of her arrest for presentation to any future employers.

Attorney General Herring issued the following statement regarding the settlement:

“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. After careful consideration of the potentially significant costs of taking this case to trial, I believe we have reached such an outcome. ABC agents do important work enforcing our alcohol laws and combating underage drinking, and the new policies and procedures implemented after this incident will help ABC effectively fulfill its mission while ensuring the safety of officers and the public. The Commonwealth and I wish Ms. Daly the very best in all of her future endeavors.”

The settlement between the Commonwealth and Ms. Daly is not an admission of any wrongdoing by the plaintiff or defendants.

How much bullshit is that last line? Clearly there was some wrongdoing on the cop’s part, otherwise Virginia state taxpayers wouldn’t have to pay a college student nearly a quarter million dollars.

Congrats to Ms. Daly for getting her college education paid off. Round of applause from all of us for fighting power-hungry cops who want to crack college kids skulls simply because they’re college kids.

Brandon Wenerd avatar
BroBible's publisher and a founding partner, circa 2009. Brandon is based in Los Angeles, where he oversees BroBible's partnership team and other business development activities. He still loves to write and create content, including subjects related to internet culture, food, live music, Phish, the Grateful Dead, Philly sports, and adventures of all kinds. Email: brandon@brobible.com