The mayor of Seattle is facing a legal battle to get her kicked out of office over her role in the city’s violent protests — and is fighting it through the state’s highest court, according to reports.
Five residents filed a recall petition last month seeking to recall Jenny Durkan as mayor — accusing her of “misfeasance, malfeasance and violation of the oath of office” over the police response to riots, the Seattle Times said.
A superior court judge has twice allowed the petition to go forward — a decision Durkan on Wednesday took to the state’s Supreme Court with her own filing calling for it to be overturned, the paper noted.
Durkan is accused of failing to implement new policing policies after tear gas and other chemical agents were used on protesters. She argues that it was the police chief’s responsibility, and something she could not have done without court approval, the report said.
The “Fire the Mayor” campaign accuses her of “abuses of power, lack of foresight and failure to protect the public.”
“This is exactly the kind of case a recall is intended to address,” petitioner Elliott Harvey wrote in a statement.
Even if the Supreme Court allows the recall to proceed, it would be a long, difficult process, the Seattle Times noted.
Durkan’s opponents would need more than 50,000 signatures from Seattle voters — one-quarter of the votes filed in the last mayoral election — before being approved a special election.
If they achieved it, there would be a simple vote up or down vote on Durkan, with the City Council president taking over as mayor if she lost.
Durkan’s spokesperson, Kelsey Nyland, told the paper the mayor was focused on her job during the appeal process.
“In the midst of unprecedented challenges for the city, Mayor Durkan has consistently acted to protect the public health and safety of residents during the pandemic, economic devastation, and demonstrations for justice,” Nyland said.
Seattle’s police chief, Carmen Best, announced her retirement this week, in response to the Seattle City Council’s moves to cut funding from the Police Department.
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