A police camera captured a Democratic county lawmaker bizarrely screaming, begging, invoking for special privileges, saying she’s broke, claiming to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and panting like she’s about to keel over while she received a routine speeding ticket for driving 13 miles per hour over the posted speed limit.
The legislator in the disturbing dash-cam video is Jennifer Schwartz Berky, a member of the Ulster County Legislature in Ulster County, New York.
The incident occurred back in May. The video is coming out now — just in time for local elections — in response to a Freedom of Information Law request (and in spite of appeals by Berky’s lawyer to suppress it).
A local news site, Hudson Valley One, has published a condensed version of Berky’s antics:
You owe it to yourself to watch this woman’s epic freakout. There’s groaning and whimpering. There are excuses galore.
Mere words cannot do any sort of justice to the groaning, the whimpering, the excuse-making, the lamentation and the gnashing of teeth over a speeding ticket for going 43 miles per hour in a zone where the posted speed limit is 30 miles per hour.
The New York Post has published an even shorter version — sort of a CliffsNotes summary — of Berky’s amazing encounter with local police.
Berky — who claims in the video that she suffers from PTSD — has an undergraduate degree in art history and a graduate degree in urban planning from Columbia University, according to a lengthy biography at the website of Ulster County’s local government.
She was “born and raised in New York City” but “has lived for several years abroad during her career and studies, and is fluent in Spanish, French and Italian.”
She lists three party affiliations in her bio. In addition to the Democratic Party, there is the Green Party and the Working Families Party, an ultra-progressive leftist group.
She has been very been active in supporting her fellow Democrats and Working Families Party candidates in “federal, state and local elections.”
On Facebook, Berky’s likes include Being Liberal, Ophira Sailing, People’s Climate Movement, MoveOn.org and, of course, Hillary Clinton.
Berky apologized for her utterly bizarre behavior on Friday, according to the Daily Freeman, a Kingston newspaper.
“The video released earlier this week of my town of Ulster traffic stop captured a tough moment for me,” Berky wrote. “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.”
“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,” Berky also wrote.
Berky faces the wrath of local voters on Nov. 7.
Her attorney argued that the video should not be released because it might unfairly influence voters.
It’s not clear whether Berky has paid the ticket or if she is fighting it.