A West York councilman has been cited for allegedly sounding an air horn at a council meeting earlier this week.

The disorderly conduct citation, filed at District Judge Walter Groom's office on Thursday, alleges councilman Tim Berkheimer sounded the hand-held air horn in the social hall of the West York Fire Dept. during a recess from the meeting Monday.

According to the citation, Berkheimer sounded an "extremely loud horn blast in extreme proximity to numerous" people, "which did cause alarm."

The meeting was moved from the borough building to the fire station because of the large number of people in attendance.

Police estimated 100 people were in the social hall at the time of the incident, the citation says.

Defense: Berkheimer allegedly sounded the air horn during a heated exchange with members of the fire department, including Chief Ed Washington. A police officer confiscated the horn, but it was returned to Berkheimer after the meeting.

Reached by phone Thursday evening, Berkheimer said he used the horn as a means of defending himself.

"I took that air horn in case something did potentially happen and the police didn't defend me," he said.

Berkheimer was seated at a makeshift council table when he and members of the fire department began shouting at each other. Washington approached the table, and the two continued the shouting match.

"That's when I pulled out my air horn to ward him off," Berkheimer said.


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Previous encounters: Both Washington and Berkheimer have been involved in public incidents in the past.

In Jan. 2012, councilwoman Nancy Laird was cited with summary harassment for allegedly poking Washington's chest after a heated council meeting. She was later found not guilty.

Berkheimer and mayor-elect Charles "Chuck" Wasko were involved in a confrontation last month.

Berkheimer previously said Wasko grabbed his arm and tried to choke him. Wasko claimed the two men came together when they tried to walk up the stairs to the borough building at the same time.

Wasko said Berkheimer "got (my) goat and I pushed him" and added "I grabbed hold of him to push him away from me."

Police are still investigating that incident.

As for the disorderly conduct citation, Berkheimer says he plans to fight it.

"If they want to file frivolous charges, go ahead," he said. "They can file all the citations they want, but they're going to end up eating them."

- Reach Greg Gross at ggross@yorkdispatch.com.