Talk about shooting fish in a barrel! Officers in “SWAT-like garb” are now bursting into Northern Virginia bars in search of intoxicated patrons. Anyone registering over 0.08 percent Blood Alcohol Concentration — the legal limit for driving — is subject to arrest. Anyone who looks drunk can be written up.
Police justify the arrests by saying that they want to ensure customers aren’t being “overserved.” Bar-goers with that unlucky fate “would be transported to an adult detention center until they sobered up.” Perhaps the police haven’t heard of getting a ride from a friend and sobering up at home.
A manager of one targeted bar complained that his arrested customers “weren’t bothering anybody. They were just sitting at the bar.” Another complained: “They seemed to be tagging people at random,” including one woman who was on her first drink. One owner accused police of “pulling people out that were not even drunk.”
When police incarcerate people for the crime of having a few drinks, it’s no wonder that bar managers are starting to compare police tactics “to those of Hitler’s Gestapo.” According to a Fairfax County, Virginia police spokeswoman, officers aren’t even required to let managers or customers know what was going on. “That’s just a courtesy,” she said.