The City of Boise announced after the close of business Friday that Boise Police Chief Ryan Lee is resigning his post at the request of Mayor Lauren McLean.
The resignation comes after KTVB-TV posted an extensive report Thursday evening that indicated the Office of Police Accountability suggested to the mayor that Lee but put on leave earlier this spring.
BoiseDev has not been able to independently confirm the veracity of KTVB’s reporting.
City of Boise spokesperson Maria Weeg told BoiseDev that “it became clear to her that the department needed different leadership,” referring to McLean. Weeg said she could not answer what the precipitating event was that led to making the move today. She would not say if the events in the KTVB story prompted the change.
Issues surrounding the chief have swirled since last fall when several officers say he demonstrated a type of neck hold on a subordinate. That officer, Sgt. Kirk Rush, said Lee severely injured his neck. Idaho State Police Investigated, and the Ada County Prosecutor referred the matter to the Clearwater County Prosecutor’s Office. Clearwater officials did not recommend Lee be charged but did write that it was a “close call.”
McLean’s office issued a news release saying Lee will be on leave effective immediately, and his last day will be October 14th. Retired BPD officer Ron Winegar will become acting chief starting Tuesday.
McLean appointed Lee chief in the summer of 2020, bringing him from the Portland Police Bureau. Before McLean became mayor, former chief Bill Bones resigned in the fall of 2019. Winegar served as acting chief during the interim period between Bones and Lee, as well as former chief Mike Masterson.