Mesa City Council moves forward with disciplinary process of Ryan Winkle

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(Source: City of Mesa photo) (Source: City of Mesa photo)
MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

The Mesa City Council voted unanimously Thursday to hold a hearing that will determine whether Councilman Ryan Winkle, arrested for a second extreme DUI, will keep his seat.

The vote came after comments from the city’s special counsel and the public, some of whom spoke on Winkle’s behalf while others made a point to say he should not get a “third chance.”

[ RELATED: Mesa City Councilman Ryan Winkle faces ethics charges after DUI arrest]

The councilmembers voted on the charge of conduct based on violating the council code of ethics and demonstrating a “lack of fitness for office.” The city’s special counsel pointed out that Winkle had a blood alcohol level of 0.22 percent, nearly three times the legal limit, lied to police officers during the stop, and previously lied to the media by claiming he learned his lesson after going to jail for a previous DUI arrest.

Mesa residents took turns pleading to other councilmembers and the mayor before the vote. Some explained that they’d known Winkle a long time and believe he’s learned his lesson. Others spoke of personal experiences with other drunk drivers. Winkle allegedly came close to striking several pedestrians on May 7, the day he was pulled over by Tempe police.

[RELATED: BODY CAM VIDEO: Councilman arrested for DUI was 'obviously intoxicated,' wife said]

Winkle, who has also retained private counsel, was not at the meeting as he has been put on unpaid leave. He publicly apologized, with his wife by his side after the incident.

Winkle’s DUI case is making its way through the court system but that doesn’t mean the council cannot move forward with this hearing. It’s not a trial and does not have legal consequences, but will play out similarly, with opening and closing statements and evidence provided to the council.

The hearing cannot happen until 30 days after the vote on Thursday. They expect to set a date for some time in August.

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[PD: City of Mesa councilman arrested on suspicion of DUI in Tempe]

[Ryan Winkle taking field sobriety test]

[Winkle's wife sees him being arrested]

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