A Democratic county legislator from Ulster County, New York was recently pulled over for speeding. The county just released dash camera footage showing the lawmaker’s utter hysteria for getting a ticket. It’s really one for the record. Grab your popcorn.
Ulster County Legislator Jennifer Schwartz Berky (D) was in Kingston back in May when she was pulled over by Officer Gary Short. The encounter lasted for nearly 30 minutes, with Berky having a total meltdown while the officer conducted the stop.
She claimed to suffer from PTSD, and went into a full-on panic attack with hyperventilation and all; she also made several complaints about the inconvenience of the stop.
After months of Freedom of Information Law requests, and suppression of the requests by county officials, they finally made the video publicly available.
Some highlights of the encounter, as provided by the New York Post:
Several minutes into the stop, Berky started hyperventilating when she was on the phone.
Officer: “Ma’am you have to calm down.”
Berky: “I have PTSD!”
She then started screaming.
Officer: “The reason why I pulled you over was because you were going 43 in a 30, which was 13 over, okay?”
Berky: “I was going at the same pace as every car. I couldn’t go slower, they honk. They honk at you. I have PTSD!”
She then started screaming again.
Berky: “I’m going to protest this in court, you’re telling me that you singled me out.”
Officer: “Are you going to listen to me, or are you…”
He was then interrupted when Berky interjected, and this is where it got really interesting.
She interrupted him saying, “Yes I will listen to you and you’re not going to let me go even though I’m a county legislator and I always do everything right and I follow the law and I was at the same pace as every other car!”
Except, technically, she did commit a traffic violation, going 43 in a 30. (She did get a ticket, county legislator status notwithstanding).
Why does the fact that she’s a county legislator make any difference? What is she of some higher mold than the rest of the populace where laws do not apply to her?
Later in the stop, she further complained that she was late for her job interview and this was going to hurt her career. He even asked if she needed medical attention.
Throughout the encounter, she changed her story as well. First she said she was picking up her son, then she said she was on her way to a job interview. The conflicting story didn’t help her.
The entire encounter lasted about 30 minutes. He tried to explain to her over and over again why she was pulled over, but every time she started hyperventilating and said it was PTSD.
After the encounter, Berky issued an apology for the incident.
“The video released earlier this week of my town of Ulster traffic stop captured a tough moment for me,” Berky stated. “Like so many working families, I too face tough times and stressful situations. As a professional, a public servant and a mother, I know my interaction with Police Officer Gary Short was unacceptable. I want to apologize to Officer Short and thank him for his patience and professionalism with me during a very difficult time.”
She also stated that she hopes to be reelected.
“I hope to use it to grow and learn how to better represent the diverse working families who reside in the great city of Kingston,” she wrote.
“It’s not about me. It’s about my constituents. I was asked to run and am going to continue running.”
If you have the time, watch the entire encounter below:
What do you think of this interaction? Is she showing signs of PTSD, or was it just a stunt to get out of a traffic ticket?