Appointment of Berkeley police chief on hold during arrest quota investigation; union president steps down

The Berkeley city council did not appoint a new police chief Tuesday night and will not do so until an investigation into an arrest quota – made public through leaked texts – is complete. In addition, the union president who is at the heart of the controversy has stepped down. 

Berkeleyside reported that City Manager Dee Williams-Ridley pulled the item confirming Jen Louis' appointment, saying she will bring the police chief appointment back to the council once the investigation is complete. But for now, she wants to ""do everything that we can to ensure public trust, especially in this appointment." 

Louis will remain Berkeley's interim police chief during the investigation.

On Monday, an advocacy group made public some texts and emails from a fired officer, Corey Shedoudy, who alleged his sergeant, Darren Kacalek, told his bike unit to arrest 100 homeless people a day, essentially an arrest quota, which is illegal in California and against Berkeley police policy. 

Neither Shedoudy nor Kacalek could be reached for comment.

MORE: Berkeley investigating police texts alleging arrest quotas of the homeless

Louis was a captain of a different division at the time, and told KTVU in an email she knew nothing of this arrest quota and if she had, would have investigated it. 

PR spokesman Sam Singer, who was hired to represent the Berkeley Police Association, told KTVU on Wednesday that Kacalek has taken leave of his position at the union as president – two days after revelations about his texts were made public. The texts that Kacalek allegedly sent also negatively refer to Obama, Black suspects and joke about wiping out the homeless population during COVID. He also makes refererence to arresting a certain number of people a day to reach 100. 

Now Sgt. Scott Castle is the acting president of the BPA.

In a statement that Singer sent out on behalf of the union, the union's board of directors also announced they want an independent investigation of the texts and quota, which critics say lead to racial profiling and unconstitutional policing in order to get the numbers up. 

"We are disturbed by the alleged texts by BPA president Darren Kacalek," the union said in a statement. "As police officers, public servants, and union members we condemn in the strongest terms any negative comments concerning the housing status or ethnicity of those we police and serve."

The union acknowledged that these messages undermine trust and confidence. 

 "Discrimination has no place in modern police work," the union said.