- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe has ordered retraining for the state’s Alcoholic Beverage Control police officers after the violent arrest of a black college student.

An executive order signed Wednesday requires the state’s more than 100 liquor agents to receive additional training on use of force, cultural diversity and interaction with youths, and community policing by Sept. 1. It also creates additional levels of accountability for the law enforcement officers, establishing a panel to review ABC practices and creating new agreements between ABC agents and law enforcement agencies in college towns.

The announcement was made a week after 20-year-old University of Virginia student Martese Johnson was bloodied as he was arrested by ABC agents in Charlottesville after trying to enter a bar near the campus. Images of Mr. Johnson, shown bleeding from the head and pinned to the ground by an ABC agent, spread quickly on social media and resulted in accusations of racism. A gash to Mr. Johnson’s head required 10 stitches.

Mr. McAuliffe also has ordered the Virginia State Police to investigate the events surrounding the arrest. Officials charged Mr. Johnson with two misdemeanors as a result of the incident, obstruction of justice without force and public swearing or intoxication.

Mr. Johnson was arrested two years after another high-profile incident involving ABC agents and a University of Virginia student. Agents swarmed the car of 20-year-old student Elizabeth Daly in 2013 after she purchased a carton of sparkling water that agents mistook for beer. Panicked because the agents weren’t in uniform and one drew a gun, she fled the scene, grazing two agents in the process, and ended up spending a night in jail. Ms. Daly sued, and the state settled the case for $212,000.

“Recent events involving special agents of the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) in Charlottesville have underscored longstanding concerns about the agency’s Bureau of Law Enforcement and exposed the need for more extensive training and oversight,” Mr. McAuliffe wrote in Wednesday’s executive order. “While we must await results from the investigations by Virginia State Police and the Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney in Charlottesville before drawing conclusions about that particular incident, it is not too soon to take proactive steps to improve ABC’s Bureau of Law Enforcement.”

Under the order, ABC agents will review or enter into mutual aid agreements with police forces in college towns in order to improve “collaboration, communication and delineation of expectations regarding enforcement activities performed by ABC special agents in these communities.”

The review panel being formed will be expected to complete a report on ABC practices by Nov. 1.

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