COLLEGE STATION, TX — Surveillance video was the saving grace for one bartender accused of serving alcohol to a minor during a TABC sting in 2016.
The sting took place at a college bar in College Station. TABC was conducting a sting using a 17-year-old and a 18-year-old girl. The sting was simple - the minors ask for alcohol, show their I.D. and if a bartender gives them alcohol, they get charged with a class A misdemeanor.
During the sting at Rebel Draft House, one bartender was charged with just that. Allen Frick faced a fine up to $4,000 and up to 1 year of jail time because he was accused of serving alcohol to one of the teens. However, surveillance video of the interaction told a different story.
In the video, Frick is seen looking at the minors I.D., gesturing to the agent, Jonathan Jergins, and then handing him the alcohol. Jergins then hands the alcohol to the minor. Frick testified that the weekend of the sting was parent's weekend at Texas A&M University. His boss told him that minors are allowed to have alcohol if their parents are supervising under Texas law.
So when the teen showed Frick her license, he asked her if Jergins was her father.
The teen nodded, and Frick handed the alcohol to Jergins who then handed it to the minor.
Greening asked Jergins, "It would have been against policy for you to get - for you to receive the beer from Allen and then give it to the [teen]; is that right?"
Jergins responds, "Well, it wouldn't happened that way, no sir."
Greening then said, "Okay. Because it would be illegal for you to give [the teen] beer, right?
Jergins said, "But that's not the way it occurred, sir."
Jergins goes on to say that it would be illegal for him to give a minor alcohol. The video contradicted Jergin's testimony.
"If we didn’t have the video, my client would have been convicted of this crime," said Greening.
Frick was acquitted by the jury. The trial only lasted one day.
“My client was under these accusations for a couple years. He ended up losing his job,” said Greening
Greening said that while he has gotten acquittals in a couple more cases like this one, he had never caught an agent lying.
“TABC’s Office of the Inspector General opened an investigation after the defense attorney in the court case put out a press release alleging that one of our agents lied in court,” said Chris Porter, of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission.
The District Attorney’s office is opening an independent probe. Jergins is still employed in the same role.