McAuliffe orders alcohol agents retrained after U-Va. arrest
The executive order requires Virginia's approximately 130 Alcoholic Beverage Control agents to complete additional training on the use of force, cultural diversity, community policing and interaction with youth by Sept. 1.
It also establishes a law enforcement panel to review ABC practices and make recommendations by Nov. 1 and requires the agency's law enforcement arm to work with police in college towns to improve operations.
McAuliffe previously ordered the Virginia State Police to investigate the March 18 arrest of Martese Johnson outside a bar across the street from the U.Va. campus. Photo and video images of Johnson, who is black, being pinned to the pavement by an ABC agent spread quickly on social media.
In the video, Johnson can be heard repeatedly calling officers racists and asking why he is being detained.
Johnson, whose lawyer said he needed 10 stitches to close a gash on his head, was charged with public intoxication or swearing, and obstruction of justice without force. His lawyer, Daniel Watkins, has said Johnson will plead not guilty to the two misdemeanors Thursday in Charlottesville.
Watkins said the order illustrates "that we all share a common belief: It is important for all law enforcement agencies to act within the bounds of the law."
ABC spokeswoman Kathleen Shaw said the agency has already begun working to improve training and will comply with the governor's order.
About 500 students demanded answers about the arrest and ABC tactics from law enforcement officials during a forum at U.Va. two days after the arrest. Dissatisfied with responses that they considered too broad, representatives of a black students' organization shouted in unison, "Answer the question we asked." They marched out before the event was over with their fists raised, chanting "Black lives matter."
The arrest of the 20-year-old Chicago resident came two years after another U.Va. student was arrested by agents who mistook a carton of sparkling water for beer. Several undercover agents swarmed Elizabeth Daly's vehicle, one pulling a gun and another trying to break her windshield with a flashlight. The incident sparked a public backlash, and the traumatized student later settled a lawsuit for $212,500.
State police investigated that as well. The report was never made public, but ABC responded by promising several policy changes.
ABC agents have begun wearing uniforms -- another reform promised after the Daly incident -- but has not yet made good on a pledge to require agents to wear body cameras. ABC said the governor has asked a state panel to determine how best to employ the technology for all state law enforcement agencies.