NEWS BRIEF: Berkeley Copwatch releases new report


On Tuesday Jan. 16 2023, Berkeley Copwatch released a report entitled “Purging the Poor: Arrest Quotas, Racist Texts, and the Role of City Leadership in the ‘Textgate’ Scandal” outlining the results of Copwatch’s investigation into misconduct by Berkeley Police Department Bike Force officers. Copwatch is calling for the dismissal of Sergeant Darren Kacalek and City Manager Dee Williams-Ridley and has released a list of further recommendations on their report. According to Berkeley Copwatch’s latest report, Sergeant Darren Kacalek, serving as both a supervisor for the Bike Force and as president of the Berkeley Police Officers Association, sent messages to other officers which hinted at arrest quotas. Released by former Officer Corey Shedoudy, who was supervised by Sergeant Kacalek at the time, these messages include: “81 arrests! We can do 19 by Friday for sure!” and “He said just kick ass, arrest people, have fun and get me results and I will never jam you about overtime … what I was trying to say is that special favors are earned!!” 

These messages were sent in November of 2019. Data presented in the report also show that the number of arrests from Bike Force officers after these messages spiked significantly, in addition to data that showed Bike Force officers made more arrests that eventually were dropped; they arrested more innocent people. In early 2020, non-Bike Force police officers arrested three people per month, while Bike Force officers arrested 10 people per month. In 2020, just under 20 percent of arrests were dropped when arrested by non-Bike Force police officers, while just over 35 percent of arrests were dropped when the officer present was part of the Bike Force. 

  Berkeley Copwatch recommends Sergeant Kacalek be dismissed for “violations of law and duty to the people of Berkeley” and recommends stopping the “pattern of unnecessary arrests.”