By Joe Vazquez

KENSINGTON, Contra Costa County (KPIX 5) – A traffic stop involving an East Bay official has raised eyebrows after the official said she was pulled over and threatened with arrest. Some are accusing police of playing politics during the encounter.

Vanessa Cordova said she was pulled over by two officers in Berkeley on October 7th. Her front license plate was missing, and she received a ticket. But the officers who pulled her on Marin Street, were not Berkeley police. They are officers from Kensington, a couple of miles away.

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Cordova is a member of the Kensington Police Protection and Community Services District. That’s the agency that oversees this small special district of 5,000 people that has no mayor or city council.

She has been an outspoken critic of the police department following a notorious incident involving an officer a couple of years ago. Sgt. Keith Barrow was with a prostitute in Reno and woke up realizing someone had stolen his badge, handcuffs, .40 caliber pistol and some ammunition.

Kensington Police Sergeant Keith Barrow. (CBS)

Kensington Police Sergeant Keith Barrow. (CBS)

The police chief at the time got fired, but Barrow has kept his job. In fact, Cordova said Barrow was in the car with the officer who pulled her over, out of uniform.

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“Let’s wait and see until the investigation comes out. Let’s be fair about it. Let’s be transparent about it,” current Kensington Police chief Kevin Hart told KPIX 5.

Hart has asked the Richmond Police Department to conduct an independent investigation. The DA is also looking into the matter, as is the FBI, according to Cordova. The official also said federal agents have advised her to temporarily move out of Kensington.

“It is very unusual for police officers to take action outside of their own jurisdiction,” said KPIX 5 legal analyst LaDoris Cordell. “On a scale of one to 10, one being ‘no problem’ and 10 being very, very suspicious, I give this a 10. And one starts thinking, is this some form of retaliation, some way to intimidate or scare her?”

Cordova declined an interview, but agreed to provide KPIX 5 evidence that she was pulled over by the Kensington police in Berkeley, the traffic ticket and some other paperwork.

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She says she will fight the ticket in court.