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College student arrested over water suing state, ABC for $40 million

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HENRICO, Va. (WTVR)—The UVA student from Henrico County arrested for carrying bottles of sparkling water is suing that state and agents of Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control for $40 million.

Elizabeth Daly was leaving a grocery store in Charlottesville in April 2013 when a group of plainclothes ABC officers mistook her water for a 12-pack of beer as she walked out of the Harris Teeter grocery store in the Barracks Road Shopping Center, in Charlottesville.

Elizabeth Daly

All charges were dropped against Elizabeth Daly.

Daly, who originally declined to comment on camera, told CBS 6 she and her two roommates were frightened when the agent surrounded the group.

Daly said the officers did not identify themselves.

The ABC officers released a statement in July 2013 that read “Rather than comply with the officers’ requests, the subject drove off, striking two officers.” “She was not arrested for possessing bottled water, but for running from police and striking two of them with a vehicle.”

The two felony charges she faced for assaulting officers were dropped, and her record expunged.

The Richmond Times Dispatch reported that the lawsuit alleges agents weren’t properly trained and that prosecutors unlawfully targeted her. The paper also reports that Daly is said to experience anxiety and post-traumatic stress from the incident.

The ABC is still investigating.

Micheal Kelly, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring’s deputy of communications, said,  “It’s incredibly unfortunate that the situation that night in Charlottesville occurred at all. As this case proceeds, the Attorney General’s office will defend the Commonwealth’s interests and work to ensure a just and reasonable outcome.”




  • BO

    I hope she gets every dime.the officers were way out of line and will get someone or themselves killed one day being cowboys.

  • Fritz the Kat

    I support her 100% and hope she gets paid. Meanwhile what is being done to rope in these idiots and the larger picture, what do we the ABC when we have a local and state police department?

  • Jeremy

    I agree the situation is ridiculous and that the ABC and responsible officers should be punished . . . severely, but $40 million? That money is likely coming out of the taxpayers pocket and there is absolutely no chance she has suffered any real damages. People expect to get paid for every little thing that goes wrong. If you want $40 million, you better have lost a limb. Shame on her and her attorneys.

    • Janet Miller Yandle

      Agree 100%. Ultimately, the tax payers of VA will foot the bill. 40 million is ridiculous. She and her money-grubbing her lawyers should be embarrassed to suggest that is appropriate compensation. I’m not suggesting that incident was not traumatic and embarrassing. She should be compensated in some way. Maybe they could least have offered to pay for her water.

      • Dylan

        She was compensated. They dropped the two felony charges for striking the two agents and expunged her records. She doesn’t deserve any kind of monetary compensation.

  • john doe

    40 million dollars? gotta pay for those attorneys somehow. she probably has her college paid off and probably will never have to work ever again. im also waiting for the ignorant race comments to show up.”oh if she was black she wouldve been shot” or something to that effect… no? ok.

  • athynz

    The 40 Million is a starting point for negotiations – I’d say they’ll settle for somewhere between the 1-5 million range. This case was mishandled by ABC from the start and I think any settlement she gets should come out of the pockets of the agents involved and their superiors who authorized their idiocy.

    • Jeremy

      I understand the concept of negotiations, the problem is, anything in the millions is too high. I understand it was incredibly dumb, but part of the elements of her cause of action is proving damages. I find it hard to believe she has damages in excess of a few thousand dollars.

  • Dave L

    ummm…amazing the lack of informed commentary on here. First…anyone who knows the ABC agency knows its one of the hardest police departments in Va to get in to. They do not hire young 21 year olds fresh out of HS or college. They are seasoned professionals with years of experience. They EARN the title of Agent and Special Agent depending on their assignment and they do years of investigative and undercover work…from testing pimple faced cashiers who sell to minors, to chasing moonshiners through the backwoods of the Blue Ridge Mountains, to cracking down on fake IDs. They ALL have badges and ID when approaching people. They MAY have erred in mistaking water for beer but this girl screwed up by striking them and taking off. And for those who also dont know…there is a DMV police department as well. State Police cant do it all!!!

    • Rich

      Virginia, a once glorious state, has been occupied with a brutal swat team of police. If an officer holds a gun up to anyone for possessing something, not stirring up trouble, and minding their own business, then they forfeited their soul to the devil.

    • Dylan

      I actually commend you Dave. People on here are just going to continue to cherry pick the situation. She WASN’T ARRESTED FOR THE WATER, she was arrested for fleeing and striking two agents.

  • tara reed

    The original story says 1 officer drew a gun. It also says the water was in a blue carton. How many beer brands come in blue cases? Yes, the officers went to far. But is she still in school, go out at night, still drive, get passing grades in school, hang out with friends, attend gatherings, date, sleep at night, go to counciling or does she have a normal life? Where does she get 40 million? Molested children don’t even get that. Give her $5,110, the price of the charges for the 2 officers she hit, and $110 for her time in jail. If she would have killed someone when she fled their family wouldn’t collect 40 million in insurance. Just a greedy brat trying to make it rich.

    • Dylan

      They dropped the charges and expunged her records. She didn’t have to pay for anything. They didn’t break her car window or anything of the sort. She was probably lying or drastically changing the story to make herself seem like the victim.

  • Ralph Sims

    I don’t see her driving off having just purchased water if police officers have identified themselves. Think about this logically. What would cause someone to drive off like that, fear maybe? From a bunch of guys surrounding you in an aggressive manner, not identifying themselves, and you knowing you’ve done nothing wrong. That makes much more sense to me. As for hitting them with her vehicle, I’m more apt to believe that this hitting was the result of officers blocking her escape than her intentionally trying to run them down. I for one am sick and tired of hearing of law enforcement overstepping their authority. They are so trigger happy and aggressive nowadays that innocent encounters with them can often turn deadly. Is it who they hire? Is it the training they receive? I don’t know, but there is a genuine problem in this country and it needs to be fixed.

    • Julie

      Exactly! They pulled a gun on her for beer! BEER! Who does that? She reacted the same way most people would have, she thought she was being attacked and she was. She won’t get $40 million but she will get something like $5-10 million. This kind of trauma can seriously ruin a life. PTSD is not a joke.

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