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Ohio Gov. John Kasich Apologizes to Police Officer He Called 'Idiot'

4 years ago
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Ohio Gov. John Kasich apologized Thursday to the police officer he called an "idiot" during a speech last month.

The governor met briefly at his office with Officer Rob Barrett, extending an apology to him and to law enforcement as a whole for his comments, according to WCMH-TV, the NBC affiliate in Columbus.

Kasich "apologized for using the term and said it was a wrong choice of words and a bad example," said Jim Gilbert, head of Columbus police union, who was also in the meeting. "The governor looked at me and apologized and said that he holds law enforcement in high regard."


The meeting, closed to media and the public, lasted only a few minutes.

In a YouTube video that has made the Internet rounds, Kasich is seen last month repeatedly describing a police officer who ticketed him for a traffic violation as "an idiot." Kasich was cited for passing too close to an emergency vehicle.

Officer Barrett told the Republican governor he could face an arrest warrant if he didn't show up in court.

"He's an idiot," Kasich said in the speech to state workers. "You just can't act that way."

The governor initially tried to apologize to Barrett over the phone, but the officer requested that Kasich meet with him in person, Gilbert told the Columbus Dispatch.

Also Thursday, Columbus Police released an official statement saying cruiser video shows that Barrett acted professionally during the traffic stop.

"Officer Barrett's actions were consistent with the division's core values of professionalism, respect, integrity, discipline, and enthusiasm, and reflect positively on himself and the Division of Police," the statement said.

Barrett has been ordered not to speak publicly about the incident.

Kasich paid an $85 fine for his infraction.

Watch portions of the Kasich speech last month:

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88 Comments

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R J Palmer

If the officer were responding to a break in at the governor's mansion, would he still be an idiot? Many of our citizens will publicy state they admire our police officers until they are given a traffic citation, then their story changes. People need to look in the mirror and "man up." Kasich committed a traffic violation. Shut up, pay the fine, and move on.

February 22 2011 at 11:26 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
RonSydel

The apology is a meaningless political damage control vehicle and this is nothing new. John Kasich is known for his intemperate speech which has continued all of his political life. He thinks of himself as a tough guy who knows it all. Neither self-characterization is accurate and his early behavior as governor will attest.

February 19 2011 at 7:34 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
The Kozwanski's

As a retired Officer, I would commend Off. Barrett for not allowing the Governor's position sway his performing his duty. He is subject to the same laws as everyone else. Regarding all the comments I see about bad officers and how easy it is and how much money they make ..I would LOVE for them to try he job for a little while. They wouldn't last ten minutes. Police Officer's are human beings like everone else. Sometimes they make mistakes, Officers get three trials to the one that the average person gets. They are held to a much higher standard. I have noticed that even the worst criminals when faced with an emergency will rely on the police to save them and the police will defend them..sometimes with their own lives. I also have noticed that the only people who belittle the police are criminals. God Bless All the men and women in law enforcement.

February 19 2011 at 6:08 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
killdekows

if Kasich wants to be treated like a prince, e should hire one of his unemployed constituents to drive you around.

February 19 2011 at 5:27 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
frednbette

John,
Just have a beer picnic in the yard with the officer. Be sure all the media you need is there and there are smiles and handshakes all around. If it works in Washington it should work for you. End of problem.

February 19 2011 at 4:49 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to frednbette's comment
Hoozie

Obama was not involved in the incident, neither broke the law nor insulted an officer. He defused a situation. The two behaviors represent opposite poles of behavior. Your comparison is as poor as your bias is obvious.

March 04 2011 at 3:40 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Novemberlady1

Well I always liked Gov Kasich but my son is a police officer and deals with this kind of verbal abuse all of the time and to see a man who is in Gov Kasich's position stoop this low is sad. You would expect more of him.

February 18 2011 at 7:42 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
3 replies to Novemberlady1's comment
littledikkins

Hey John, you are subject to the law the same as the rest of us.

February 18 2011 at 6:13 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
cltt1218

Obama did it but all he had to do was have a beer and a used it as a photo opt.

February 18 2011 at 1:03 PM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to cltt1218's comment
Hoozie

Obama had nothing to do with the original incident.
Kasich, however, broke the law and then publicly insulted the officer.
Ridiculous comparison.

March 04 2011 at 3:37 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
taylorman710

How can you order someone not to speak?

February 18 2011 at 1:01 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
Dan

It seems some laws exist solely for the purpose of allowing police to ticket for additional state or municipal revenue but it's the officer's duty to enforce the laws that exist. The idiots are the legislators who enact stupid laws, not the police who enforce them.

February 18 2011 at 12:40 PM Report abuse +28 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Dan's comment
fpcgeorge

what are the mortality rates of police officers getting killed on duty, compared to other hazardous jobs in our country? I would postulate that they are not significantly higher than some other jobs???

Furthermore, every time I and my family "don" clothes and go out in public we are subject to being robbed, killed, raped, etc...

They chose the profession; nobody held a gun to their head to sign up. Check the average pay including benefits, they are well compensated for the work they do.

February 19 2011 at 7:06 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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