Panel: Virginia Alcohol Agency Should Retain Arrest Powers

23 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Alcohol enforcement should stay with ABC, state review panel says.

The administration of Virginia Gov. RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A task force appointed by Virginia’s governor after a college student’s bloody arrest declined Tuesday to recommend stripping the state’s liquor agency of its police powers.Wright Way Hyundai in Staunton Serving Harrisonburg & CharlottesvilleHyundai Drivers Welcome to your Hyundai dealer serving Staunton, Harrisonburg, and Lexington.

University of Virginia student Martese Johnson was drinking in the hours before his controversial arrest outside a Charlottesville bar last March, according to witnesses interviewed as part of an administrative investigation into the handling of the incident by officers from the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. Once there clock on the document titled “Virginia State Police Administrative Investigation/Review on Martese Johnson Arrest, September 22, 2015 (PDF)”. As we first told you last night, the governor changed positions after all those involved in Martese Johnson’s bloody arrest signed off on a release. McAuliffe’s administration said Tuesday that it was able to release the report because the three officers involved had waived protection of their personnel information. The independent investigators at the Virginia State Police did a thorough and professional job with this review and I thank them for their outstanding work.

In its report, posted to the ABC website Tuesday, the 20-person panel recommended that ABC agents wear body cameras when conducting law enforcement operations, but not when performing regulatory activity. Contact us today using our online form!Serving Charlottesville, Lexington & Harrisonburg Hyundai Customers Wright Way Hyundai proudly serves our Harrisonburg and Charlottesville Hyundai customers. In August, the ABC announced that three agents were returning to duty because a state police report had cleared them of any wrongdoing related to the arrest. The report also suggests that the three ABC agents, who were taken off duty in the wake of the arrest and reinstated in early August, did not violate their department’s general orders for using force.

Those responsibilities, which involve field activity to combat underage drinking, have come under heavy scrutiny after the Johnson arrest and the 2013 arrest of U.Va. student Elizabeth Daly, who was accosted by ABC agents in a parking lot after the agents mistook a case of sparkling water for beer. But the report remained under wraps, much to the chagrin of state legislators charged with overseeing the ABC and open-government activists, who asserted that the claimed personnel exemption was bogus. However, while the review found that the agents “only used physical force to detain and arrest Johnson,” it notes that they did not employ any “defensive tools” to de-escalate the confrontation. The major issue considered by McAuliffe’s task force was whether ABC should be stripped of its arrest powers, leaving its enforcement of underage drinking laws to state or local police. The panel, led by Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran, involved law enforcement, prosecutors, ABC license holders and alcohol education groups, among others.

State police conducted a criminal investigation at the request of Albemarle County Attorney Warner D. “Dave” Chapman and an administrative review of the agents’ conduct. It also recommended improvements in training, including eight hours of instruction annually in cultural diversity, effective interaction with youth and “response to active resistance.” A separate investigation by the local prosecutor found that some witnesses reported that Johnson fell while resisting agents’ efforts to question him outside a bar, while others said the agents threw the student to the ground. Chapman concluded in June that no charges were warranted against Johnson nor the agents after reviewing a range of conflicting accounts of the altercation.

Charlottesville prosecutor Dave Chapman allowed him to review that report for about 90 minutes, shortly before police dropped charges against Johnson in June. After you buy a Hyundai Elantra, Santa Fe, Tucson or any of the other Hyundai cars or SUVs we carry, take advantage of our post-purchase services we offer. Watkins said Chapman has not responded to subsequent requests to see the report since then, as Johnson has considered filing a civil suit over the incident. Based on the exceptional nature of the release of this material, the Commonwealth of Virginia Office of the Attorney General has examined the report and redacted medical information in accordance with state and federal law. Witness names and information have also been redacted to protect their identities and avoid inhibiting witness participation in future cases of this nature.

The willingness of numerous witnesses to discuss the events and provide valuable information was essential to preparing a complete report on this incident. (The specific sections concerning the agents’ waiver are: § 2.2-3705.1(1) under FOIA which discusses personnel records; DHRM Policy 6.05 enacted pursuant to Code §2.2-1201(A)(13) which prohibits agencies from releasing personnel info without consent of the employee; and § 32.1-127.1:03(A)(3) which concerns health records privacy and prohibiting its unauthorized release.)” The full VSP administrative review – in its redacted form – can be read here: https://www.abc.virginia.gov/library/about/pdfs/vsp-admin-report-martese-johnson-arrest.pdf?la=en (format: 119 page .pdf) Being deeply rooted in the communities of Waynesboro, Stuarts Draft, Staunton and the counties of Augusta and Nelson for nearly 150 years we are privileged to form relationships with those we serve at such an important time in their lives – relationships that endure through the healing process and beyond.

According to notes Watkins took, witnesses to the incident fell into three distinct groups: those who recalled that Johnson “tumbled down”; those who said the officers “slammed him” to the ground; and those who said he went down during a struggle with officers. With years of understanding and caring for families from all walks of life, each comes to us because they know we are leaders in our profession, dedicated to excellence in service and have the highest integrity. Once he realized the person was a law enforcement officer, he complied with a request to show his ID, Watkins said. “Next thing he knows, he’s being slammed on the ground,” Watkins said. According to court documents, the ABC officers alleged that Johnson’s eyes appeared “red and glassy” and that he acted belligerently during the arrest.

Johnson’s arrest led to campus protests and put renewed focus on the law-enforcement activities of Virginia’s ABC, which was sued after a 2013 incident in which its plainclothes agents confronted a 20-year-old white student in the parking lot of a Charlottesville supermarket. What sets us apart: -Offering three locations to better serve you -Only funeral home to offer a full time licensed funeral director dedicated solely to pre-planning, aftercare and monument sales -First and most experienced on-site crematory in the area -Offering the most complete and affordable burial, cremation and memorial selections -Catered gatherings at your home, church, or one of our facilities Whether your needs are immediate or you are planning ahead, you can expect to be guided and listened to every step of the way by an experienced staff member who truly cares.

Spring Lakes is a 300 acre planned community conveniently located just one mile south of Staunton, VA in the heart of the beautiful Shenandoah Valley. Located in a beautiful pastoral setting, nestled among the Allegheny and Blue Ridge Mountains, Spring Lakes at the Woodlands will be the place you want to come home to.

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