As we hit the final stretch of the battle over SB5/Issue 2, it seems like a good time to remember how little respect Kasich has shown for public employees, and police officers specifically. And what better way to highlight that than by revisiting Kasich’s “idiot cop” comment and traffic stop.
Back in January Kasich publicly berated the Ohio EPA claiming it was plagued by “a lack of commitment and a lack of vision” and, in short, blamed the EPA for the delay of a new permit for a gas-fueled power plant. The Governor claimed his administration had, despite the shortcomings of the department and its employees, magically gotten the permit approved.
When an employee of the EPA explained to the press that the delays were actually caused by the company, not the EPA, Kasich freaked! He ordered every Ohio EPA employee from around the state to come to Columbus so he could lecture them about not talking to the press. It was during this event (which cost taxpayers over $5000 in direct costs, and tons more in lost work hours) that Kasich made his now-famous “idiot cop” remarks.
During the event, Kasich tells the story of a police officer, Officer Robert Barrett of the Columbus Police Department, who had pulled over Kasich three years earlier. For some reason, Kasich has continued to hold a grudge against the officer for all this time and proceeds to use him as an example of poor customer service.
In his story, Kasich claims he couldn’t have seen the flashing lights and claims the officer was “an idiot” because he had the nerve to inform Kasich of the legal requirement to appear in court for the law he had broken. According to Kasich, the officer gave him a ticket and said “you must report to court and if you don’t report to court we’re putting a warrant out for your arrest. He’s AN IDIOT!”
Here’s the video of Kasich’s comment.
So that’s Kasich’s version of the story. He got pulled over for passing a public safety vehicle that he says he never saw. And the idiot officer who pulled him over told him he would get arrested if he didn’t show up for court.
Now here’s the video of the actual traffic stop. Note: this video contains a few additional minutes of footage that show the officer presenting Kasich with the ticket and explaining the mandatory court appearance.
In the video you can clearly see Kasich not yielding for the state trooper. There was no vehicle in front of him blocking his view of the trooper and no one next to him preventing him from pulling into the next lane. Notice Kasich’s lane is completely clear of vehicles except for his. Somehow everyone else on the road was able to see the emergency vehicle and move over except for Kasich – who didn’t even slow down. It appears that Kasich was clearly in violation of the law here.
And in the new, extended portion (jump ahead to 8:45) you can also hear Officer Barrett explain the situation to Kasich: “in the state of Ohio this is a mandatory court appearance so you will have to appear in court. You have a court date set for one week from today.”
He tells Kasich that he must “show up for court or they will issue a warrant and you will lose your driver’s license.” He also, very politely, informs Kasich, after he asks if he can just pay the fine, that the court appearance is required because the state legislature passed a law (ORC 4511.213) requiring a mandatory court appearance and a mandatory double fine for not yielding to a public safety vehicle.
It’s worth noting that Kasich tells his story while lecturing EPA employees about poor customer service but, in fact, the story is a perfect example of the opposite. Informing people of all the facts in a polite, respectful manner so they won’t be confused, or end up with a warrant and suspended license, seems like the exact definition of good client service.
Kasich’s disrespectful and nasty comments about public employees are not new. Back in 2009 he promised to “break the back of organized labor in the schools” and before he made his idiot cop comment he’d already accused Ohio’s law enforcement officers of “hiding in the bushes” and “sneaking in the weeds.” Obviously Kasich has a problem with teachers and police officers. And, based on the extreme, union-busting provisions in Senate Bill 5, all public (and likely private) union members as well.
On November 8th, lets show Ohio’s police officers, fire fighters, teachers and other public employees that we respect them a hell of a lot more than Governor Kasich.
On November 8th, Vote NO on Issue 2.