Jennifer Schwartz Berky, a New York county legislator, has a major meltdown when a police officer issues her a speeding ticket (Photo: YouTube)

Jennifer Schwartz Berky, a New York county legislator, has a major meltdown when a police officer issues her a speeding ticket (Photo: YouTube)

A New York lawmaker has been captured on video screaming at the top of her lungs at a police officer, desperately begging, hysterically shouting that she doesn’t “feel safe” and staggering as if she’s about to collapse onto the ground – all because she received a speeding ticket for driving 13 miles per hour too fast.

County legislator Jennifer Schwartz Berky, a New York Democrat who represents the city of Kingston, is up for re-election in six days.

So it’s perhaps unfortunate timing for Berky that a video of her total roadside meltdown, which happened in May, was recently released by the Town of Ulster Town Board following several freedom-of-information requests.

Watch the video: 

To get the full effect, one would need to watch the video. But the following are some of Berky’s comments after she was caught driving her Toyota Prius 43 miles per hour in a 30-miles-per-hour zone:

  • “Please don’t give me a ticket. I’m broke. I’m completely broke. And if you tell people, it’s gonna hurt me.”
  • “Why would you pull me over instead of someone else? It’s just bad luck.”
  • “I’m having a panic attack! (hyperventilating) … I’m gonna take it to the court, because (heavy breathing and screaming) … I have PTSD! Ahhhhhh!”
  • “I’m going to protest this in court. You’re telling me that you singled me out.”
  • “You’re not gonna let me go, even though I’m a county legislator?”
  • “I always do everything right, and I follow the law, and I was at the same pace as every other car!”
  • “I couldn’t go slower; they honk! They honk at you!”
  • “Could you just tell me what you’re doing here with the ticket, because I’m late for a job meeting … and this is my career!”
  • “I don’t feel safe anymore. I don’t feel safe here. I don’t feel safe around you.”
Jennifer Schwartz Berky (Photo: Ulster County Democrats)

Jennifer Schwartz Berky (Photo: Ulster County Democrats)

Ulster Police Officer Gary Short asked Berky if she needed medical attention and whether he should call an ambulance. But she didn’t appear to accept his offer.

He also offered to write Berky a ticket for only a non-moving violation – failure to wear her seat-belt, a lesser offense than speeding – even though he appeared to have acknowledged she had been wearing her seat-belt. But Berky refused. So he wrote up the speeding ticket.

Ultimately, Short spent a half hour calmly explaining the reason for the speeding ticket.

“I know, but I’m a taxpayer in Ulster County,” Berky said. “I’m also a lawmaker in Ulster County.”

After the footage of her meltdown was released, Berky, who is up for re-election on Nov. 7, issued the following statement published by Hudson Valley One:

“The video released earlier this week of my Town of Ulster traffic stop captured a tough moment for me. 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 continued: “This has been a humbling experience for me. I hope to use it to grow and learn how to better represent the diverse working families who reside in the great the city of Kingston.”


Note: Read our discussion guidelines before commenting.