A group of University of Virginia students are demanding that the state government strip Alcoholic Beverage Control agents of their power to arrest people. Their request comes less than two weeks after ABC agents were caught on camera violently arresting UVA junior Martese Johnson outside of a local bar.
Currently, the officers, whose duties include supervising liquor stores and regulating liquor licenses, are able to arrest civilians who break alcohol-related laws. However, UVA student government chair Abraham Axler is asking Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe to ensure that that power is reserved exclusively for police officers.
“There are times in which arrests are going to have to be made in connection with illegal use of alcohol,” Axler said to The Huffington Post. “But when that does happen, it should be local law enforcement agencies making the arrest.”
UVA student Sam Shirazi created an online petition for the matter, which, so far, has garnered almost 550 signatures.
Though the governor’s office has not responded to the request, Gov. McAuliffe signed an executive order yesterday requiring that all ABC agents be retrained in interacting with youth and the proper use of force.
A state investigation into Johnson’s arrest is ongoing.