Man drinking open can of iced tea faces criminal charges

A man arrested last April in Fayetteville, N. C. for allegedly drinking alcohol outside of a liquor store is facing pressure to enter a plea deal despite insisting his innocence on what is being called racially motivated and ill-planned on the arresting officer’s part.

The case has grabbed attention as Americans question whether the civil rights of a young man were overlooked in what looks like another unjust search and seizure episode.

Christopher Beatty, a 28-year-old self-declared rapper, was hanging out with his friends outside an ABC Liquor Store on April 27, 2013. His friend, Tim Brown, was filming the occasion because Beatty was preparing to unveil a music video he was in the midst of making and was about to show his friends.

In Beatty’s hand is a can of Arizona iced tea. Whether there was alcohol in it, has not been made definitively clear. What’s clear is the unprofessional conduct Cumberland County Alcoholic Beverage Control Law Enforcement Officer Rick Libero administered leading up to and during the arrest.

The video catches plain-clothed Libero walking up to Beatty, asking him if there is alcohol in his iced tea can. Beatty, unsure of who Libero is since the officer did not identity himself, ignores the man. An upset Libero tells Beatty to leave the property and Beatty refuses. Suddenly the officer twists Beatty, dragging him to the ground and pinning him down on his stomach to handcuff the startled man.

He was arrested on charges of resisting arrest and trespassing but not the initial reason for Libero’s pouncing on him, drinking in public. Under the deal that has now been offered to the defendant from District Attorney Billy West’s office, after one year, the charges would be dropped and leave Beatty’s record “clear of a conviction through an arrangement called a deferred prosecution.”

The deal would also mean submitting to a year of probation, 24 hours of community service, a mental health assessment and submitting to random drug testing and warrantless searches.

“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 told The Fayetteville Observer.

Beatty lost his job after the incident last year and has faced problems with finding a new job because of the national attention his case has received over the last year. Additionally, if Beatty accepts the deal, the charges would remain for another year, impeding his ability to find work over the next 12 months.

The case is scheduled to be heard June 5. If Beatty chooses not to accept the plea, he will have to go before a judge and hope the official does not convict him of the alleged crimes. Either way, its a lose-lose for a man who swears he is innocent.

This is exactly what happened to rapper Christopher “Xstrav” Beatty, who was handcuffed and arrested by Officer Rick Libero of the Cumberland County Alcoholic Beverage Control Law Enforcement for drinking a can of Arizona iced tea in the parking lot of a liquor store in Fayetteville, North Carolina last April. Luckily for Beatty, a friend was right there, capturing the arrested on his camera. It’s also important to note that Officer Libero did NOT immediately identify himself as a police officer.
Read more at http://freedomoutpost.com/2014/03/iced-tea-drinker-arrested-urged-take-deal-prosecutors/#jZrS7gsCKQbI8UfT.99

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So, it’s a warm day, and you’re standing in a parking lot, drinking a refreshing can of iced tea.

Suddenly, a random dude walks up and demands your beverage. You show him that it is in fact iced tea and that you aren’t publicly intoxicated. He tells you to give him the can and you say no, figuring this stranger can get his own iced tea.

Incidentally, the random dude is a plainclothes police officer. Despite the fact that you’re drinking iced tea, you are flung to the ground and put in a chokehold, because we all know that folks just can’t be drinking iced tea all willy-nilly in a parking lot like that.

Read more at http://freedomoutpost.com/2014/03/iced-tea-drinker-arrested-urged-take-deal-prosecutors/#jZrS7gsCKQbI8UfT.99

His attorney, Allan Rogers, is urging him to take the “deal.”

While he feels that his rights were violated, he runs the risk that the judge will see the case differently, Rogers said. A judge could convict, so Rogers recommends that Beatty take the deal.

“This is a compromise resolution that gives us a guaranteed result,” he said. “As a lawyer, when you’re representing folks, your goal is to try to get the best possible outcome. … The best outcome is one that we can control, and at this point, he would end up with no conviction.”

Read more at http://freedomoutpost.com/2014/03/iced-tea-drinker-arrested-urged-take-deal-prosecutors/#jZrS7gsCKQbI8UfT.99

So, it’s a warm day, and you’re standing in a parking lot, drinking a refreshing can of iced tea.

Suddenly, a random dude walks up and demands your beverage. You show him that it is in fact iced tea and that you aren’t publicly intoxicated. He tells you to give him the can and you say no, figuring this stranger can get his own iced tea.

Incidentally, the random dude is a plainclothes police officer. Despite the fact that you’re drinking iced tea, you are flung to the ground and put in a chokehold, because we all know that folks just can’t be drinking iced tea all willy-nilly in a parking lot like that.

photo credit Police State USA
photo credit Police State USA

This is exactly what happened to rapper Christopher “Xstrav” Beatty, who was handcuffed and arrested by Officer Rick Libero of the Cumberland County Alcoholic Beverage Control Law Enforcement for drinking a can of Arizona iced tea in the parking lot of a liquor store in Fayetteville, North Carolina last April. Luckily for Beatty, a friend was right there, capturing the arrested on his camera. It’s also important to note that Officer Libero did NOT immediately identify himself as a police officer.

photo credit Police State USA

You can watch an interview with clips from the video of Beatty’s arrest below.

One would think that with the entire debacle on video that Beatty’s plight would have ended shortly after this incident. One would be incorrect. Beatty was charged with trespassing and resisting arrest, and is being offered a “deal” by prosecutors. (Is it an election year? This wouldn’t be the first prosecutor to “crack down” for a ridiculous reason in order to win fame and garner votes.)

Let’s be sure we are 100% clear on this.

THEY WANT A MAN WHO IS GUILTY OF DRINKING ICED TEA AND NOT GOING AWAY AT THE ORDER OF AN (AT THE TIME) UNIDENTIFIED MAN TO TAKE A PLEA BARGAIN.

According to a court document, the deal would punish Beatty with probation and community service on misdemeanor allegations that he was trespassing and resisted a public officer. After a year, the charges would be dismissed and leave Beatty’s record clear of a conviction through an arrangement called a deferred prosecution.

The case is scheduled to be heard in Cumberland County District Court on June 5. District Attorney Billy West said his office has approved the deal.

Beatty said he doesn’t like it.

“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. (source)

Beatty is between a rock and a hard place, which is exactly where the “justice system” wants him.

The deal doesn’t sound like much of a deal. The tea-drinking man would face a year of probation and be required to perform 24 hours of community service. Not only that, Beatty would be required to have a mental health assessment, and as a probationer would be required by law to submit to drug testing and warrantless searches.

His attorney, Allan Rogers, is urging him to take the “deal.”

While he feels that his rights were violated, he runs the risk that the judge will see the case differently, Rogers said. A judge could convict, so Rogers recommends that Beatty take the deal.

“This is a compromise resolution that gives us a guaranteed result,” he said. “As a lawyer, when you’re representing folks, your goal is to try to get the best possible outcome. … The best outcome is one that we can control, and at this point, he would end up with no conviction.” (source)

Read more at http://freedomoutpost.com/2014/03/iced-tea-drinker-arrested-urged-take-deal-prosecutors/#jZrS7gsCKQbI8UfT.99


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