The Berkeley Police Department was in turmoil Thursday following the leak of text messages that allegedly show the president of the police officers union making racially charged remarks and calling for arrest quotas.
The growing scandal resulted in the union president, Sgt. Darren Kacalek, being placed on administrative leave Wednesday, city officials confirmed. He also stepped down from his position as union head. It also put on pause the City Council’s pending appointment of a new police chief, Jennifer Louis, the Berkeley Scanner reported.
The texts were exposed last week by a city police officer who was fired last year, Corey Shedoudy. He claimed he obtained the messages during the arbitration process to get back his job.
“Evidence was uncovered that exposed the unethical and illegal practice of arrest quotas of downtown unhoused ordered by Sgt. Darren Kacalek,” Shedoudy wrote in an email to the mayor and City Council. The officer was reportedly fired for intentionally crashing his bike into a car.
As a member of the Downtown Task Force and BPD Bike Force in 2020, Shedoudy claimed that Kacalek — a sergeant in the Police Department at the time — required him and other officers to make 100 arrests per month, “which was at the time more than the rest of the police department combined,” Shedoudy wrote in the email.
The quotas continued after Louis was named interim chief, Shedoudy said.