Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Cleveland Councilman Zack Reed arrested on suspicion of drunken driving after publicly supporting Cleveland Police Chief Michael McGrath after police union called for chief's resignation, some Black elected officials say media coverage against Reed might be racist, Council President Martin Sweeney, under investigation himself for potentially having an unlawful interest in a public contract, is accused of holding a grudge against Reed, who is Black


Cleveland Ward 2 Councilman Zack Reed
By Kathy Wray Coleman, publisher, editor-n-chief, Cleveland Urban News. Com and The Cleveland Urban News.Com Blog, Ohio's Most Read Online Black Newspaper(www.clevelandurbannews.com)

CLEVELAND,Ohio-Cleveland Ward 2 Councilman Zack Reed was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving early yesterday morning, nearly three weeks after he publicly supported embattled Cleveland Police Chief Michael McGrath in spite of the demand for the chief's resignation  last month by the Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association, the union for the police rank and file. 

McGrath is under fire relative to the fatal shooting late last year by a group of White Cleveland police officers of unarmed Blacks Malissa Williams and Timothy Ray Russell,  both gunned down and shot at 137 times following a police chase that began in downtown Cleveland and led police into the neighboring predominantly Black city of East Cleveland.

Following a community forum on Feb. 11 where area community activists called for McGrath to step down for systemic problems or racism in the Cleveland Police Department, Reed told Cleveland television news station 5 that McGrath should be given the benefit of the doubt until an internal affairs investigation around the deadly shooting is completed.

Cleveland police claim that Reed ran a red light and made an improper turn at 1:44 am at E. Ninth Street and Rockwell and that he failed a field  sobriety test before getting hauled to jail, where he allegedly refused a breathalyzer.

Reed, 51, was released later that afternoon after posting bond and will appear in Cleveland Municipal Court today for an arraignment. It is his third DUI arrest since 2007 and the councilman, who is Black and has represented the Mount Pleasant and Kinsman neighborhoods on the largely Black east side since 2000, has been convicted twice of DUI.

The mainstream media are having a field day with the case with some Black elected officials, all speaking under condition of anonymity, alleging that the coverage borders on racism, and that Cleveland City Council President Martin Sweeney, who is White, is holding a grudge against Reed because he is outspoken. 

Sweeney himself has been under investigation for potentially having an unlawful interest in a public contract, though the mainstream media have downplayed the investigation.   

Reed is one of 19 Cleveland council members, nine of whom are Black and all of whom are up for reelection this year. 

Also this year the city, by charter amendment approved by voters, will lose two council seats.

(www.clevelandurbannews.comReach Cleveland Urban News.Com by email at editor@clevelandurbannews.com and by phone at 216-659-0473.