Cops Sued After Attacking Girl Buying Water Pay $212,000 Settlement

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Overzealous police are the bane of a good department. When officers are distrusted by the populace, it hurts their ability to do their job. And when they aren’t reprimanded — or when crimes against the public are judged separately, or covered up — it makes it worse. Couple that with officers feeling alienated from the public, and the result is a vicious cycle that ends in over-policing and, all too often, brutality.

Elizabeth Daly was a victim of over-policing in April of 2013 in Virginia, when officers — who did not identify themselves as such — attempting to catch underage drinkers went after 20-year-old Daly and two of her friends, who locked themselves in Daly’s vehicle. While the girls were locked in the SUV, one officer drew his weapon, while another jumped on top of the hood. Not knowing they were police, Elizabeth Daly fled the scene, grazing a couple of them with her car.

Apparently, she and her two friends had left a grocery store with a case of water which officers mistook for beer. Daly ended up being arrested, charged with two felonies, and spending a night in jail. The charges were later dropped. Her lawsuit against the officers was for $40 million, and she claims to have PTSD and a tremor in her hand as a result of those events. A federal judge dismissed Virginia as a defendant, according to WTVR:

During a June hearing in which a federal judge dismissed the state from Daly’s $40 million lawsuit, her attorney argued the plainclothes agents jumped his client, as she tried getting inside her SUV. As a result part of the lawsuit alleged assault and battery against the officers. Attorney James Thorsen said the assault was against his client — although not physical– resulted in a “mental injury.”

The state is settling the lawsuit with the now 21-year-old Daly for $212,000. Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring has stated that the settlement is not an admission of guilt.

While it is nice that justice was reached somewhat in this case — the individual officers were to blame, not the taxpayer, and yet the taxpayer will bear the cost — the question must be asked: what if she were a person less able to combat the charges, or threaten a multi-million dollar lawsuit? What would have happened?