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Government and Politics

Councilman Reed pleads not guilty to his third DUI charge
He vows not to step down, and to take his case to a jury

Kevin Niedermier
Cleveland City Councilman Zack Reed confers with his attorney Anthony Jordan before facing the judge in municipal traffic court today. Reed pleaded not guilty to a drunken driving charge.
Courtesy of Kevin Niedermier
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Cleveland City Councilman Zack Reed has pleaded not guilty to his third drunken driving charge in eight years. Reed was arraigned in traffic court today following his arrest early yesterday morning after a traffic stop.                                                                                                                     

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Through his attorney, Councilman Reed told the traffic court judge he wants a jury trial. And he intends to challenge the suspension of his driver’s license.

It was automatically taken away because he refused to take a Breathalyzer test after being pulled over by an officer who said he ran a red light and made an illegal turn. Reed was convicted of drunken driving in 2005 and again in 2008. He served some jail time and was sent to rehab for the second offense.

Speaking with reporters after his court appearance, Reed said he does not intend to step-down from council.

“There will be a time when I sit down with my council colleagues, many of whom have reached out to me, and we’ll talk about the situation and deal with it. Right now, I have to deal with this legally, and I still have a job to do. The people of my ward want me to keep doing the job they elected me to do.
Asked if he owes anyone an apology, he responded, "I owe myself an apology.”

City Council has the power to expel members for inappropriate behavior.  But following Reed’s first two DUI convictions, the body decided to support him. It’s unclear what action council will take this time.

Reed admits he has an alcohol problem, but would not say if he’s attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings or being treated for addiction. His preliminary hearing is set for next Wednesday. 

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