Virginia Beach, Va. – A Newport News man was arrested earlier this week and charged with attempting to bribe a Virginia Beach police officer.
Virginia Beach Police Spokeswoman Tonya Borman says the incident happened on September 7, 2013 when an officer conducted a traffic stop in the 200 block of Baker Road.
The officer arrested the driver, 27-year-old Eric Dean Berry of the 1000 block of Arboretum Way in Newport News. He was charged with possession of marijuana.
Berry was also issued summonses for several traffic infractions, including operating a motor vehicle on a suspended operator’s license.
Police say during the arrest process, Berry offered the officer money in exchange for being released and “forgetting” the charges.
The officer screened the case with the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office and obtained a felony warrant for Bribes to Officer.
Berry was arrested for the charge on October 1, 2013.
On Thursday, Berry denied that he tried to bribe the officer in an interview with NewsChannel 3’s Todd Corillo.
Berry stated that the traffic stop began because a light on the back of his car was out.
Berry says he asked the officer, “‘Can you please escort me to the AutoZone so that you know I get it fixed’ and everyone can have a good day because on that day I was on my way to pay my rent sir.”
However, he insists the he never offered the officer any money in exchange for the charges being dropped.
“The only thing that I did offer the police at the given time under my recollection, I tried to talk sense into the police officer because his reason for pulling me over during the daylight for having a blown brake light I really thought it was petty,” Berry said. “I tried to cooperate as much as possible to the utmost degree to say sir can you please escort me to the Auto Zone? Whether that entails me offering him some type of financial compensation to do so? No sir, not at all.”
When asked about the marijuana found in the car, Berry claimed it wasn’t his but says he does take responsibility.
“It wasn’t mine but at the same token I understand it was within a secure container in a shoebox in the back seat of my car,” Berry said. “So it’s under my jurisdiction in my car, I was transporting it. I had no idea whatsoever that it was in my possession, so it is what it is. I take the responsibility for it.”
Berry says he has taken care of the other traffic infractions he was cited for and says he isn’t to blame.
“This whole situation is a crazy situation and I real do feel violated as a citizen,” Berry explained.