State Police are looking into the circumstances surrounding the ABC sting that resulted in a UVA student spending the night in jail. ABC Chairman Neal Insley released a statement Monday night in which he says he requested the State Police to conduct an independent administrative review of the facts of the case. Insley says State Police have agreed, and neither agency will comment until everything is completed. The Rutherford Institute does not like the idea. Rutherford president John Whitehead says a review by State Police will only result in a rubber-stamping of the ABC agents’ actions. But Delegate David Toscano welcomes State Police involvement. Toscano says the State Police investigation will provide insight as to what went wrong, and how ABC can improve and implement better protocols and procedures. Meanwhile, the Albemarle supervisors will be sending a letter soon requesting an investigation into the ABC sting. City Council has already sent a letter officially asking Governor McDonnell and a General Assembly commitee to investigate. The county supervisors decided last week to write a letter of their own. The county staff will come up with a draft letter to the governor. Ann Mallek, Dennis Rooker and Duane Snow say the ABC might need to consider changes in training and guidelines. Here’s the statement from ABC Chairman Neal Insley:
Statement from ABC Chairman J. Neal Insley, July 8, 2013
Per our previous statement, the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) is continuing its review into the April 11, 2013 incident in Charlottesville, which resulted in the arrest of a UVA student. The review began on June 28, 2013, after the City of Charlottesville Commonwealth’s Attorney nolle prossed the charges.
“Once the charges were nolle prossed, I immediately directed the internal review of the circumstances leading up to the young lady’s arrest,” said ABC Chairman J. Neal Insley. “Last week, after consultation with the Secretary of Public Safety, and with her concurrence, I requested the assistance of an impartial third party, the Virginia State Police. I asked them to look into the matter and they agreed to conduct an independent administrative review of the facts surrounding the incident.”
“As agency head, I take personal responsibility in making sure all facts of the case are fully evaluated and our department is held to the high standards of service the Commonwealth expects and demands of us,” said Insley.
We take all citizen complaints very seriously. As previously stated, consistent with our practice of making every effort to improve our law enforcement procedures based on experience, rather than wait for the results of the review, ABC has implemented an immediate change in operational practice. This change should help alleviate some of the concerns identified through public feedback. In the future, when conducting these types of operations, there will be at least one ABC Agent in a police uniform to act as a contact person once the plain clothes agent has developed reasonable suspicion or probable cause to approach individual(s) they believe have violated the law.
It is the Department’s belief that this change will further clarify the nature of the stop by law enforcement and help put citizens who are approached at ease regarding the identity of the officer or officers. The agency will determine whether additional policy or procedural changes are appropriate following the reviews.
Neither VA ABC nor VA State Police will be able to comment on the reviews until they are completed. Once they are completed, we will provide further information.