FAYETTEVILLE, NC — A man drinking canned iced tea in a parking lot was accosted by a plainclothes beverage cop who demanded to inspect his drink. He was placed in handcuffs and arrested. Even though the man was innocent and was only drinking tea, prosecutors are still trying to set him up with probation and community service.
The incident took place on the evening of April 27th, 2013. Two men were standing by their vehicle waiting for friends to arrive in the parking lot of a state-owned ABC Liquor Store.
One man, Christopher Lamont Beatty, was holding a canned beverage, while his friend, Tino Brown, was recording video using his cell phone. That’s when the two were interrupted by a man who was interested in the man’s choice of refreshments.
Beatty, who also goes by the name “Xstravagant” or “Xstrav” as his rapping persona, began receiving harassment about the can he was holding. A man in plainclothes, claiming to be “the police”, insisted that he turn over his beverage for an inspection. Beatty refused the stranger’s requests, but pointed out that it was only an AriZona-brand drink, “Half-and-Half” iced tea and pink lemonade — not alcohol.
Brown and Beatty pointed out that they didn’t know the identity of the nosy man and that Beatty had committed no crime. Still, the man demanded to examine his beverage and would not take no for an answer.
The stranger then claimed that Mr. Beatty was under arrest. He became grabby and ended up putting Beatty in a choke-hold as he took him down to the ground.
The bully, who turned out to be Alcohol & Beverage Control Law Enforcer Rick Libero, forced Mr. Beatty face-down onto the concrete and placed him in handcuffs.
Tino Brown had been recording the whole incident and documented the labeling on the can, showing that it was a non-alcoholic drink.
Beatty was arrested and taken to jail. He was charged with two crimes; second degree trespass and resisting a public officer. Months have gone by and the prosecution has offered a deal.
The government requests that Beatty “submit to a year of probation, do 24hours of community service, have a mental health assessment, and submit to drug testing and warrantless searches,” reported the Fayetteville Observer.
“It would get it dismissed at the end, but I would still have to take responsibility for my actions, and I felt like I did nothing wrong,” Beatty said.
Beatty could also potentially take this to trial, in which a jury of his peers would have the opportunity to vindicate him of an unjust charge.
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Cumberland County Alcoholic Beverage Control Law Enforcement (North Carolina)