A county court in North Carolina has moved to dismiss charges against a man arrested two years ago for drinking iced tea.
Back in April 2013, former Army Staff Sergeant turned rapper Christopher Beatty, AKA Xstrav, was filmed waiting for a friend outside of the Cumberland County ABC Liquor Store in Fayetteville, when a plainclothes officer walked up to him demanding to know what he was drinking.
The man, only verbally identifying himself as “police,” approached Beatty, who held out his drink at arm’s length, allowing the officer to read the label.
The officer grew irate after Beatty refused to allow him to hold the drink and asked him to leave the property for trespassing, despite Beatty attempting to explain he was there to make a future purchase.
The security officer, whom it later emerged worked with the Cumberland County Alcoholic Beverage Commission, next wrestled Beatty to the ground and handcuffed him.
Beatty was subsequently arrested and charged with trespassing and resisting a public officer.
Last week Cumberland County District Court Judge Lou Olivera ruled the arrest unconstitutional, saying that the officer lacked reasonable suspicion, holding that all “fruit of the poisonous tree” evidence derived from the arrest was thereby inadmissible.
Assistant District Attorney Charles Scott said he disagreed with the decision, alleging it was a result of the current atmosphere of “anti-police sentiment.”
“It’s (a reflection of) what’s going on in many parts of the country,” Scott said. “If you arrest or attempt to arrest people, there appears to be great anti-police sentiment in certain quarters.”
The officer that arrested the man, Rick Libero, testified he “had reason to believe that it may (contain) alcohol” because of the way Beatty held the can.
Beatty’s attorney, Allen Rogers, countered by saying his client had no previous criminal history, and that he had held the can close enough for Libero to have caught the scent of alcohol. Additionally, Beatty’s speech did not appear to be slurred.
“It was an investigative stop, your honor,” Rogers said. “This is a former soldier, and there’s no history of anything like that.”
Beatty had previously refused a deferred prosecution arrangement last year that would have punished him with probation and community service.
Outside of the courthouse, Rogers reportedly offered his client an Arizona Iced Tea, which Beatty refused, joking that “There’s too many cops around here now.”
Alex Jones, David Knight and John Bowne talked to Tino Brown, the person who filmed the event, on the Alex Jones Show, May 3, 2013.
David Knight also interviewed Tino Brown, the person who filmed the arrest, and rapper Xtravagant on the Infowars Nightly News.