The Mesa City Council voted unanimously this morning to move forward with conducting a disciplinary hearing for District 3 Councilmember Ryan Winkle in no less than 30 days.
This means Winkle faces ethics charges and could be removed from office after a May 7 DUI arrest in Tempe. He is currently on voluntary suspension from his Mesa City Council duties and was not present at this morning’s council meeting.
Winkle’s blood alcohol level was 0.22, which is considered “super extreme” and means penalties could range from 45 days to six months in jail if he is convicted (the legal limit for a BAC level is 0.08 percent) next month in Tempe. Winkle was heard denying he had been drinking at all when Tempe police released the arresting officer’s body camera video a few days after the arrest.
The city has retained special counsel from the Phoenix law firm Gust Rosenfeld. Attorney Charles (Chas) Wirken said Winkle’s BAC shows “he had almost 11 drinks in his system when blood was drawn.” He added: “Making false statements to police officers is a crime within itself.”
Many residents came out in support of Winkle this morning while many came to ask the Mesa City Council to remove Winkle from office.
“I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like Ryan Winkle,” Mayor John Giles said, adding that the council is just doing its job. “This is a due process situation and it can’t be rushed.”