William Bergin hits Rock Bottom (More Sordid Details on Killer Cop's Night Out)
Last week, Portland Indymedia ran an article detailing the curious downfall of officer William Bergin, the cop who tortured and shot Fouad Kaady to death. Bergin, it seems, was arrested almost a year ago, after drunkenly menacing his former girlfriend at around 3 in the morning on March 8, 2007. I want to make it clear that this incident was a serious one, especially given Bergin's record as a killer. I would like to know why this man is still working as an officer of the law. More than that, I want to use Bergin's own testimony to point out that there is a culture of violence, cover-up and dishonesty in the Sandy PD that bears looking into, especially if one is interested in justice for the many people who have suffered violence and injustices at the hands of Sandy police officers and been ignored. So this week, I am going to quote liberally from the Sherwood police report describing his arrest and subsequent behavior and statements to the police.
On March 8, 2007, Sherwood police officers Newton and Johnson arrived at the home of Bergin's ex-girlfriend (whose name I will not share) to find Bergin just disappearing into the garage and closing the door behind himself. His ex-girlfriend was still inside the home, and was on the phone with police dispatch, asking if it was safe for her to come out. She said she would meet the officers at her front door. The officers told her to come on out. When she did so, the report notes, "She was crying and her hands were shaking." She did not know why Bergin was there, and said that she was uncomfortable having him there. Officers Newton and Johnson asked if she could let them into the garage so that they could talk to Bergin. Here is an excerpt from the police report:
"When I opened the door to the garage, I noticed a male on his knees picking at the door lock with a screwdriver. Immediately, I saw that his eyes were red, watery, glassy, and his face was flushed. There was also a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from his person. The male, who was identified as William Bergin looked up at Officer Johnson and I and said, 'Oh shit.' When Mr. Bergin tried to stand up he fell forward and I had to take hold of his arm and help him up."
The report goes on to note that Bergin was swaying, his speech was slurred, and he was "having a hard time maintaining his balance." Here is another passage from the very long police report:
"I asked Mr. Bergin how much he had to drink tonight. He told me that he would just leave. He then started to walk out of the garage. As he started to walk out of the garage he lost his balance and started to fall to the left. He reached out his hand and I was able to catch him and keep him from falling to the ground. I helped him walk the rest of the way out of the garage by holding on to his right arm. Once we were outside he stumbled in front of his car and had to grab onto his car to regain his balance."
After this, officers asked Bergin how much he had to drink. He initially said he had had "a few drinks" at Kel's, and (appropriately enough) at Rock Bottom. He admitted to driving from downtown Portland out to his ex-girlfriend's Sherwood home. When the police asked him how long he had been at his girlfriend's house, he initially said 10 or 15 minutes, which matched what his girlfriend had told them. However, as you will see, his story changes as officers begin asking more questions. He was asked whether he had anything to drink after he got to her house. According to the report:
"He paused for a second and said, 'Um, yeah, I had two or three beers in the garage.' I asked him if he was being honest. He said, 'I am a cop, I know what's going on.' I asked him if he could show me where he put the beer cans of the beers [sic] that he just drank. He told me that they are somewhere in the garage and that he had a ton of beer cans in there. I asked him again how long he had been here and drank the beers. He told me that he has been here for about 45 minutes. I explained to him that he just told me that he has been here for 10-15 minutes. He said, 'No, I have been here.' He then asked if he could call a friend to come get him. His speech at this time was very slurred and hard to understand."
It is interesting to note that, as drunk as he was, Bergin was still about as adept as ever at covering up for himself. Because, in the above exchange, it is clear that he understands that the Sherwood officers are asking him whether he had anything to drink after arriving at his girlfriend's house in order to establish that he was driving drunk. "I'm a cop, I know what's going on," he said. And then he told them he had been drinking after he stopped driving, so that he could claim he was sober when he was driving. But he's as transparently bad at his lies while drunk as he is when sober. Because he was apparently unable to produce any empty beer cans. The officer's report continues:
"I told him that I was just doing my job and had to ask him these questions. I then asked him not to lie to me and to be honest with me about drinking. He told me that he is a cop and was sorry. I asked him again if he drank anything since he arrived here. He said, 'No, I have not had anything to drink here.' I asked him why he lied to me. He told me that he was a cop and knew the routine. As we were talking, Mr. Burgin [sic] seem to be having severe mood swings. He would be talking with me one minute and then the next minute he would be crying and mumbling to the point where I had to keep asking him to calm down because I was unable to understand anything he was saying."
Again, Bergin tells the officers that he is a cop and "knew the routine," and he appears to be explaining that this is why he lied. In other words, he knows what kind of evidence can be used against him, so he is carefully trying to tamper with that evidence. He is lying in order to cover up after himself, after doing something that he knows was wrong. This is a very interesting revelation, given the wild discrepancies between Mr. Bergin's story about what happened to Fouad Kaady and the stories of the many witnesses to that shooting. Was he lying to protect himself then, too? I have always believed so, given the overwhelming evidence in that case. But the corporate media just took his word for it all. Will they be able to do so now? Now that he's admitted that he fabricates evidence to protect himself?
But back to the report. Bergin then refuses to take any sobriety tests. Not only does he refuse initial field sobriety tests, but he later admits that he is stalling, in the hope that he might sober up before they are able to detect the amount of alcohol in his system. Again, to quote the report:
"I asked Mr. Burgin [sic] if he would be willing to perform some voluntary field sobriety tests. Mr. Burgin, 'No, I am a cop and I am not doing test.' He then started crying and told me that he is a cop and he shot someone. I informed him that I could imagine he is having a hard time, but I had to do my job."
I do not know what to make of Bergin's statement about shooting "someone." A skeptical part of me is angry that he would try to use the murder of Fouad Kaady to get off the hook like this. It's beyond grotesque that this murderer could attempt to use his victim in such a disgustingly self-serving manner. On the other hand, if he really is suffering as a result of the shooting, then perhaps he does have the kernel of a soul after all. This shooting SHOULD bother him. It should be destroying him. He tortured a bleeding accident victim, and then shot him to death for no reason. Afterward, he lied about the incident, and made the victim out to be some sort of "monster" who deserved the killing. This SHOULD hurt. It's hurt everyone else in the community -- particularly Mr. Kaady's family, I would think -- so he should be feeling this pain with every fiber of his being.
If he really is feeling this, and not merely using the shooting to invoke sympathy and get him off the hook, then perhaps there is hope of some salvation for him after all. It will not come easy, and it will not come soon. It will certainly not come without a lot of work on his part. As a comment below the previous story on this subject suggested, he will need to take responsibility for what he did before he can ever hope for any kind of forgiveness from this community, or from himself. And he will need to get rid of the badge. He is clearly neither capable nor deserving of holding a position of authority -- much less a gun -- over other people. His behavior and his words indicate someone who has a lot of power issues. He should never be in a position to hold power over other people again. But, if he really is suffering, perhaps he is less of a monster than his original behavior would appear, and more of a human being who has done a very bad thing and knows he must atone for it. One would think that this atonement would take some other form than drinking himself into a stupor and terrorizing women, though.....
Returning to the report, Officer Newton asks Bergin numerous times if he will take a sobriety test, and Bergin refuses each time. Officer Newton then attempted to read Bergin the "SFST Revised Admonishment" (in other words, explaining that he needs to take the test or face arrest). Bergin interrupted to remind the officer, yet again, that he's a cop and knows all this stuff, and no, no test. At that point, according to the report, "He then stumbled forward and fell back against his car. I noticed that at this time he appeared to be having a hard time holding his eyes open." Bergin was then placed under arrest at 3:41am."
When they arrived at the police station, Bergin lost his balance as he was stumbling out of the police car. According to Newton, "He had a hard time maintaining his balance and could barely walk." Again, this is a man who just drove himself, in a large, red, SUV (a Chevy blazer), all the way from downtown Portland out to Sherwood.
Once inside the police station, officers attempted to check the level of alcohol in Bergin's system using the sci-fi sounding "Intoxilizer 8000 internal clock." However, Bergin said that he wanted to talk to his lawyer, and that he would take twenty minutes to do so. He was given a telephone and left alone to make his call. And here, things get strange. To quote the report:
"At about 4:20am, Officer Johnson contacted me and asked me if Mr. Burgin was making phone calls. I told him that he was in the holding cell talking with his lawyer. Officer Johnson informed me that [ex girlfriend's name] just ran up to him and that Bill was calling her from the police phone. He told me that she reported that he left her a voice message saying that when he is released he is going to put a bullet in his head. At that time dispatch also called me and informed me that [ex girlfriend's name] called them and reported that her ex-boyfriend was calling repeatedly from 503-625-5522, which is the department's number. Dispatched [sic] informed me that he was threatening to hurt himself."
So Bergin, given the opportunity to call a lawyer, chose to call and harass his former girlfriend instead. He then lies about it. Newton's report goes on:
"I went back into the holding cell and asked Mr. Bergin what he was doing. He told me that he was trying to call a lawyer. I informed him that I knew he was calling his ex-girlfriend. He asked me if I was monitoring his phone calls. I told him that the other Officer was still at his ex-girlfriend's house. He told me that he called her once. I asked him why he would call her when I advised him to only call a lawyer. He told me that he had to talk with her. I asked him why he was threatening to hurt himself. He told me that he did not and said that he was sorry. I told him that this time was given to him to call a lawyer and that what he was doing was inappropriate. He again said he was sorry and asked if he could try two more calls to contact a lawyer. I told him that I would allow him five more minutes to contact a lawyer. A few minutes later he waved me back into the room and said that he was done. He said that he was able to talk with a lawyer and that he would take the breath test."
It is worth noting, again, that Bergin appears to be very comfortable with lying to cover up for himself. It is also important to acknowledge that his threat to "put a bullet in his head" is a classic ploy used by perpetrators of domestic violence. Men who want to control women often threaten to kill themselves in order to manipulate their victims. As a former domestic violence counselor, I can say with some confidence that this is generally regarded as a very dangerous symptom among perpetrators. When a woman takes control over her life by ending a relationship with an abuser, it can be a very dangerous time for her. Abusive males seek to hold power over their victims, and can become very manipulative, and often very enraged, when they see that power slipping away from them. Murder-suicides are more common at this time. (See, for example, link to www.ilrctbay.com.)
Bergin obfuscates some more at the police department, telling officers that he only drank two beers at Kel's and two beers at Rock Bottom, between 9pm and 3am. He continues to stall, trying to sober up before a sobriety test can be performed. Again, quoting from the report:
"I asked him why he lied to me about drinking after he drove to his ex's house. He told me that he was sorry and that he will blame it on nerves. I also asked him if he was on any medications. He told me that he took one 100mg Trazadone and one 10mg Celexa. He also said that he is on Wellbutrin, but did not take any today. I asked him if he was supposed to mix alcohol with the medication. He told me that he could have a few drinks, but not to many [sic]. I asked him when he took his medication. He told me that he took it 6-8 hours ago. I asked him how the medication makes him feel. He told me that the Celexa makes him really light headed. I asked him if he felt the effects of the alcohol tonight. He said, 'Nope.' I asked him if he was being honest with me. He said, 'Yup, I am being honest, I mean come on I have to try you can understand.' I asked him why he lied to me and called his girlfriend. He told me that he called his girlfriend and a union rep. He then said well the more time that goes by the better off I am. He then asked me what I think he was going to blow. I informed him that I felt he had too much to drink. He said, 'O it has been a lot of time, so who knows I could blow under a .08%.' He then said, 'I'm around a .09 or .10 I bet.'"
So again, we can see that Bergin is playing the system, angling around to escape responsibility for the crime he knows he has committed. He admits that he has been stalling for time, and that he thinks he may have stalled long enough to beat the DUI charges. Although he stalled until after 4:30am, however, his ploy did not work. At 4:50am, his blood alcohol content was recorded at .12%. Newton notes, "As the breath test was printing, Mr. Bergin just kept saying "fuck, well good thing for diversion." In other words, still angling to avoid any consequences for his actions.
Finally, according to Newton's report:
"As I was completing the paperwork for Mr. Bergin asked me if I could just take him to Detox [sic]. He said that he has pulled over plenty of drunken cops and has given them a ride home. I informed him that I had to do my job and that Detox was not an option, he was already arrested. He told me that in Sandy it is still the 'good old boy' system and he could just go to Detox or home. I informed him that I had a job to do and it was nothing personal. He told me that he understood and apologized for trying to mess with me. He told me that it was at least worth a shot."
I actually find this to be the most revealing statement in the entire report. It's not that those of us who paid any attention to the abuses going on out in Sandy did not already know that there is a very serious "good old boy" problem going on out there. But to have it spoken aloud, by the biggest old boy himself, that's quite a confession. It blows apart any plausible deniability that the Sandy city government may have claimed.
I take no joy in pointing out this man's obvious personal pathologies. If he were an ordinary private citizen who did not carry a gun and a badge, who had not already tortured and killed an unarmed accident victim for no apparent reason, then I would leave him to his own implosion. But he is not an ordinary private citizen. He is a police officer, with power over the people of Sandy. Power that he is prone to mis-using. He has killed someone, and he got away with it. And then, the corporate media took his word for gospel when he lied and obfuscated about what really happened. They let him define who Fouad Kaady had been. They let him portray his innocent victim as a "monster," as a drug addict, as a freak. These are labels that did not fit Fouad Kaady, but they do fit Mr. Bergin. And where is the corporate media now? Are they so willing to drag a man's name through the mud, so long as he is "just an ordinary guy," and yet so unwilling to tarnish the good name of an officer of the law, no matter how ill-suited that good name may be? Why? Who do they work for?
The problems in Sandy go much deeper than this one man, and the public should know this. As Bergin himself has stated, there is a "good old boy system" in Sandy, that has caused immeasurable suffering for the people of that town. The Fouad Kaady murder has helped to bring this nest of nasties to light, but Mr. Kaady was not their only victim. For years, the people of Sandy have been telling horrific tales of racism, abuse, persecution, and cover-up. And for just as long, they have been ignored. Carlos Rubio and his family were hounded by police until they feared for their very lives. Carlos was falsely arrested, and then disappeared shortly after police threatened him in front of his family. He was later found dead under very mysterious circumstances. Juan Rubio, Carlos's father, who surely had already lost enough at the hands of the Sandy police, was then hounded by officers as well. He was threatened and called racist names, and when he demanded accountability from Chief Harold Skelton, Skelton had him arrested. So Mr. Bergin is not an isolated individual. He is one small bacteria in an oozing petri dish of disease. And it is time for some disinfectant.
I encourage anyone who would like to independently verify the facts in this article to contact the Sherwood police and ask for a copy of the paperwork involved with Case #07240403. You may reach the Sherwood police dept here:
Address: 20495 SW Borchers Dr. Sherwood, OR 97140
Business Hours: M-F 8:00AM - 5:00PM (503)625-5523
After Hours & Holidays: (503)629-0111
You may also wish to call the Sandy PD. The Sandy police are a little more difficult to reach, and a lot more dangerous. So be intrepid, and be careful. This is their contact info:
Business hours: 8am-6pm Monday-Friday, office number 503-668-5566
38970 Proctor Blvd., Sandy, Oregon 97055
According to the police report, however, Mr. Bergin can be reached at 503-668-9186. So this might be a more direct line, should anyone care to get a comment from him personally.
If anyone can reach Mr. Skelton, the Sandy police chief, to see how he can justify keeping this disturbed and violent man on the police force, I would be very interested to hear what he has to say. Please feel free to become the media, and post what you find out here. It's going to take a lot of us, working together, to find out what's really going on over in the Sandy police dept, and to shake that old boy system apart.
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