STAY TUNED: Interview with Zack Reed, after his convic - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

One-on-One: LIVE Interview with Zack Reed, after his conviction

Zack Reed in court Zack Reed in court
19 Action News reporter Paul Orlousky and Zack Reed in 19 Action News studios 19 Action News reporter Paul Orlousky and Zack Reed in 19 Action News studios

Cleveland Councilman Zack Reed joined us live for in-studio for an interview.

Reed was convicted Tuesday afternoon for driving while intoxicated.  This was Reed's third OVI arrest.

Reporter Paul Orlousky got a chance to speak with him on 19 Action News First at 6.

Reporter Paul Orlousky: In the eyes of the law, certainly, you were drunk that night. In the eyes of Zack Reed, do you accept that?

Councilman Reed: In the eyes of Zack Reed, I have a problem with alcohol and I've got to deal with it.

Reporter Paul Orlousky: That term bothers you -- "the third." 

Councilman Reed: No, it doesn't both me. I have to continue to face up to the fact that every day that goes by and I get in contact with alcohol there's a problem that can occur. On that night, on March 4th it occurred.

Reporter Paul Orlousky: Describe your emotions and you appear at various times, angry, frustrated. What were your emotions?

Councilman Reed: I was never angry. I was never angry. I just wanted to make sure that whatever I said and that's the reason I thank you and Channel 19 for allowing me to come in and say what I'm saying now in a more professional manner. What I may have said after that verdict because of the disappointment that I felt, may not have been what I'm going say here now and what I'm saying here -- and I thought that the judge did a very professional job. The jury did a good job of looking at all of the evidence. I thought my lawyers did a good job and the whole atmosphere was professional. I didn't want to poison it by saying something down the line. I liked it better that I could get away from this situation. 

Paul Orlousky: The tape was important. How important were the tapes of you and the breathalyzer as well out on the field? 

Councilman Zack Reed: I think it would come to you to go ask the jury and that was the most damaging thing. And I think it was proven. Overall, it was proven that I only had two beers that night, but those two beers took me to a position that the jury felt that I was impaired and therefore, they said that I was guilty and I found myself in this position again. 

Paul Orlousky: You said to yourself a couple of times on that tape, what have you done? What have you done? Was that was an admission or did you know you were going to be charged? What was going through your mind there? 

Councilman Reed: I said to myself what I said to everyone along the way. That's the reason when you say I was angry. I was never angry. At the end of the day, I did this, and I didn't want it too look like I was blaming this on anyone. So in the back of the car I would say I wasn't admitting to anything and I was saying that yes, I put myself in this position again, and therefore now I've got to go through this again, and that's what it came down to. Again, I put myself in this position.

Paul Orlousky: Let me clear up two things on the tape. Police said that you were rude to them. I never saw that on the tape. 

Councilman Reed: No one ever saw it. 

Reporter Paul Orlousky: What do you read into that? What were they seeing that I didn't see? 

Councilman Reed: Everyone who looked at the tape from start to finish saw that I was professional all of the way through. I was disappointed that I put myself in that position. I knew that there was a way that you respect the police officers, and there was no way I was going to be rude and insulting to any police officer whether I found myself in the position I found myself in that night or whether I found myself talking one-on-one in the neighborhood.

Reporter Paul Orlousky: Will you resign?

Councilman Reed: No.

Reporter Paul Orlousky: Will you continue to run? 

Councilman Reed: We started running four years ago when I was re-elected then. We never stopped running. If you wait to stop running you lose. I've been knocking on doors for four years and we'll continue to knock on doors on September the 5th, the voters were awarded to and make the decision. 

Reporter Paul Orlousky: What do you say to your constituents? Have you let them down? 

Councilman Reed: Oh, yes. I've let my constituents down, I let my colleagues down. I let my God down. I've made a big mistake, and I have to live through that mistake.

Reporter Paul Orlousky: If there is a prison term, how might that affect your council? You can only miss ten meetings and then you're expelled. 

Councilman Reed: That's not for me to make that decision. My decision is to recognize that I've got a problem and that I've got to deal with this problem. So I've reached out to the Cleveland Clinic who have said to me in the past, Zack, not Councilman Zack, but Zack you know you've got a problem. Our door is wide open for you. When you come through that door, they didn't shut the door. I didn't shut the door. Dr. Collins at Cleveland Clinic said Zack, you can come any time you want. So I look forward to address the problem that I have of being addicted to alcohol. 

Reporter Paul Orlousky: People say-- when is this guy going to get it?

Councilman Reed: It's a problem with a hold. It's a problem that I have, and it's an addiction that I have and I have to keep working day by day. 

Reporter Paul Orlousky: What's in your future? 

Councilman Reed: Go back to work tomorrow. Continue to work on behalf of the people and continue to answer phone calls and hopefully improve the quality of life for the people that live, work, play through what I represent. 

Reporter Paul Orlousky: You're number one in social media, here at the station. Why all of the interest? 

Councilman Reed: You've got to ask them. I always wonder why is one councilman, so popular than a lot of other people in the community and they haven't made the mistake, and maybe because you said it, it doesn't matter in the city of Cleveland and you can call Zack Reed and he will help you and solve your problem, maybe that's why, but I can't answer why I'm number one on social media. I like to know that I'm number one in the life of my family and number one in the life of my God and continue to work on the problems that I have with alcoholism. 

Reporter Paul Orlousky: You said it here live again. Two beers that night. 

Councilman Reed: It's not that I said it. I think it came out in court. You've done a good job of being there every single day and when you look at the receipts, the receipts show two beers. You look at the people from the bar and bartenders and they testified there were two beers, at the end of the day, two beers or whatever it took me to a situation on March 4th that now gave me a guilty plea, that gave me a guilty verdict today. So it didn't matter how many beers I have, it put me in the position of a guilty verdict and now I have to deal with the problem that I have. 

Reporter Paul Orlousky: It sounds like you're hedging -- saying it doesn't matter how many beers. 

Councilman Reed: No. I'm saying at the end of the day it didn't matter how many beers it was. 

Reporter Paul Orlousky: Two is two. 

Councilman Reed: It was two beers and it came out during the whole testimony that it was, but those two beers was a mistake for me to get behind the wheel of a car and drive. Period. 

Reporter Paul Orlousky: You told me you looked at the faces, in the eyes of the jurors. What did you see? 

Councilman Reed: Whether it was CSI or whatever it would, if the jury doesn't look at you when they come through the door that's not a very good sign and today it wasn't a very good sign.

Reporter Paul Orlousky: Thank you very much for joining us. 

Councilman Reed: Thank you for the opportunity. 

Reporter Paul Orlousky: Good luck to you. Romona...Denise? 

Anchor Romona Robinson: I just wanted to ask Zack a question before he left. Zack, you and I go way back. I've known you more than 20 years. Keep it real with us. You've been so humble  coming here and I thank you for that, but I'm a little concerned because I know you're up for re-election and you said you're planning to still run and yet the Cleveland Clinic has offered you to come and get help. I'm concerned that if you run for re-election and put getting help on the back burner, that's not in the best interest of you. So will you say to us here tonight that you will, in fact, go and seek help for your drinking problem? 

Councilman Reed: Yes. 

Anchor Romona Robinson: You'll do that right away? 

Councilman Reed: Yes. 

Anchor Romona Robinson: And do you think you can do that and run for re-election because I was hit by a drunk driver and I'm concerned not only for your health that you would be hurt in a car accident, but that you would hurt someone else. So you are saying to us tonight that you will seek help right away? 

Councilman Reed: Only by the grace of God that I've not been hurt nor have I hurt someone else. That's only by the grace of God, so yes, I will seek help for the problem that I have. That I have.

Anchor Romona Robinson: All right, that's all we can ask of you. We wish you the best of luck.

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