BERKELEY (KPIX 5) – New evidence has emerged of how a Berkeley City Councilman tried to get his way out of a ticket for running a red light by calling the police chief.
KPIX 5 reported August 24 on how Councilman Ben Bartlett badgered the patrol officer following the alleged infraction last July when he claimed he was in a hurry to get to an official event.
Now KPIX 5 has learned he also attempted to get Berkeley Police Chief Andrew Greenwood involved.
Barlett’s heated exchange with the police officer was all recorded, but it turned out there was more to this story.
After the officer pulled Bartlett over on July 19 for reportedly running a red light, he called the chief.
The chief couldn’t talk, so the councilman texted him, saying, “The officer won’t let me go.”
The chief asked, “Where?”
The councilman replied “In Berkeley, can you talk to her?”
He also gave the chief the officer’s name, Stephanie Cole.
A city spokesman told KPIX 5 the chief never called the officer and didn’t not interfere with the traffic stop.
But Councilman Bartlett kept at it, telling the officer he was late to a retirement event for a fellow councilman at Berkeley City Hall.
The city had already released audio of the exchange.
“Can I come to the station and do this later?” Bartlett is heard asking.
“No, no. I understand you are who you are,” Officer Cole replied.
“Is this really necessary? You know, we’re voting on your contract right now. And I took a big stand to get you a raise,” Bartlett said.
He was referring to the police contract that was being negotiated at the time.
The officer gave him a warning for the alleged red light violation, but wrote him a fix it ticket for not having a driver’s license with him.
That further raised Bartlett’s ire.
“Breaking my b—s to give you guys the biggest raise possible,” Bartlett is heard saying on the recording. “This is how you repay me?”
The officer said, “Sir, don’t make this personal. It’s not.” Bartlett disagreed, replying, “It is personal.”
After the exchange, Bartlett texted the chief, “I just missed Worthington’s retirement. I’ve pulled every trick to get your guys raises and to keep you in Urban Shield. We need to look after each other better than this.”
Bartlett declined an interviewed Friday, but apologized last week.
It was completely inappropriate, off the mark. Just stupid, dumb. I’m deeply sorry, Bartlett said.
But not everyone in his South Berkeley district is ready to forgive him.
“Bye! Resign. He’s doing a lot of dirty, nasty filthy things he shouldn’t be doing,” said one resident who declined to give his name.
“He’s a young guy and hopefully he’ll learn from this mistake,” said Berkeley resident Barbara Brooks.
A local newspaper reported that a few days after the incident, Bartlett voted against the Urban Shield program he mentioned in his text to the chief.
So far, the Berkeley City Council has not taken any action against Bartlett.