On October 26, Jason Batholomay returned to Minnesota from a trip to Los Angeles. The Farmington City Councilman was cruising southbound on Cedar Avenue in Apple Valley when another driver noticed something odd about Batholomay’s ride.
The driver told Apple Valley police that Bartholomay was using blue lights on his vehicle to pull over other cars. When a cop caught up to the councilman, he noticed the blue flashing lights and several cars behind Batholomay slowing down and backing off from his vehicle.
According to a complaint, the cop pulled over Batholomay, who allegedly denied knowing of any blue or flashing lights. As the cop and councilman chatted, the officer spotted a box that “appeared to be used for activating the lights.” The cop allegedly asked Bartholomay to hit the button, which activated “red and blue lights” near the back of his car.
“This is blown way out of proportion,” Bartholomay said Friday.
He declined to talk specifics on the record, deferring to his attorney, Hillary Parsons.
Bartholomay allegedly told the cop he was a chaplain for the Minneapolis and University of Minnesota police departments and used the lights for responding to suicide calls. The complaint states both departments denied having any affiliation with him.
Parsons says the chaplain thing was a misunderstanding. As a psychotherapist, Bartholomay at times responds to suicidal clients.
“They were questioning him as if he had been impersonating one of them, so it was kind of a volatile situation,” she says. “At one point, he was trying to describe and explain why he had the lights, he compared his job to someone like a chaplain who has to show up to these situations.”
During the stop the officer also noticed two switches on Bartholomay’s center console that were hooked up to a siren and PA box. The siren was wired to a speaker under the hood. Parsons says Bartholomay bought the lights on Amazon after his car was hit on the side of the road while responding to a “jumper-type situation.” She said the siren and PA were part of the package.
The lawyer claims Bartholomay only used the lights when parked, never to get to a scene. That day Bartholomay had luggage on his passenger seat. Parson claims a fallen briefcase likely activated the lights.
Bartholomay is due in court on misdemeanor charges for impersonating an officer and two counts of having forbidden lights.
"The first chapter of the book doesn’t tell you the full story,” he says.