Gov. McAuliffe orders liquor agency to implement changes

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC/AP) — Virginia’s liquor agency says Gov. Terry McAuliffe has accepted all recommendations made by a task force after a college student’s bloody arrest.

The report was assembled by Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran in accordance with Executive Order 40.

“Executive Order 40 put in place important reforms that are improving law enforcement at Virginia ABC. I thank the Virginia ABC Enforcement Expert Review Panel for working collaboratively to put forward additional suggestions to improve ABC Law Enforcement for all of our Commonwealth’s citizens and businesses. I have directed ABC to move forward with implementing all of the panel’s recommendations and directed Secretary Moran to make sure the regular reporting from ABC demonstrates continued improvement,” said Gov. McAuliffe.

The Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Department (ABC) said Friday that it’s implementing the changes suggested by the panel appointed by McAuliffe after University of Virginia student Martese Johnson’s arrest last March. Video and photos of the black student bleeding from the head while being pinned down by ABC agents were widely distributed on social media. A state police investigation concluded that the agents were not unduly aggressive.

In September, McAuliffe’s panel recommended ABC emphasize regulatory activities, such as licensing compliance, over law enforcement but declined to strip the agency of its arrest powers. It also suggested additional training and steps to improve collaboration between the ABC and colleges.

Final recommendations from the panel include a renewed focus on ABC licensee regulatory matters more so than street-level enforcement. There will also be additional training and increased staffing of ABC special agents to monitor licensed establishments and keep pace with industry growth. Other recommendations include ABC’s accreditation through a state or national law enforcement accrediting body, the establishment of stronger relationships among local and campus law enforcement and implementation of body-worn cameras during enforcement activities. The panel also suggested quarterly reports demonstrating progress toward the adopted recommendations.

Click here to see the full report on Virginia ABC’s website.

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