Jennifer Schwartz Berky, 53, is a Democrat legislator of Ulster County in mid-Hudson Valley, New York.
Last May, Berky was pulled over for a minor speeding infraction — going 43-mph in a 30-mph zone. Her response was to go into an epic, 26-minute, histrionic meltdown, including:
- Pretending to hyperventilate.
- Saying she’s having a panic attack and that she has PTSD: “I’m having a panic attack! [uncontrolled breathing] … I’m gonna take it to the court, because [uncontrolled breathing and screaming] … I have PTSD!”
- Claiming she’s broke: “Please don’t give me a ticket, I’m broke. I’m completely broke. And if you tell people, it’s going to hurt me.” “Please don’t give me a ticket, I can’t afford it.”
- Accusing the officer of unfairly targeting her: “Why would you pull me over instead of someone else? … I’m broke! I’m totally broke! I’m totally broke! This is very upsetting to me.” “I’m going to tell [the court] you singled me out!” “I don’t feel safe anymore. I don’t feel safe anymore.”
- Denial: “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!”
- Using her governmental position to get out of the ticket: “You’re not gonna let me go even though I’m a county legislator?” “I am late for a job meeting … and this is my career!”
- Screeching and making fake crying sounds.
When the admirably calm and composed police officer said he would cut her a break and write her up for the much lighter infraction of seatbelt violation, Berky got angrier and threatened: “I’m protesting this in court! First of all, it’s not the right charge!”
His generous offer spurned, the officer cited Berky for the initial speed violation.
Her 26-minute meltdown was captured on the patrol car’s dash cam video that only recently was released to the public.
After the video was released, Berky issued this apology on Facebook:
“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. 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.”
Amanda Prestigiacomo of The Daily Wire observes:
“Yes, this clearly unstable human being is responsible for making laws, which is super comforting…. The legislator is up for reelection on November 7. Berky has degrees in art history and urban planning from Columbia University.”
According to the Daily Freeman, on November 7 Berky lost her reelection bid when she was defeated by Republican Brian Woltman 1,030-811.
We can only imagine her hyperventilating histrionics at news of her defeat.