SEATTLE — A King County Superior Court judge has approved a petition for an election to recall Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan.
The Seattle Times reports the ruling Friday on charges filed by a group of five people last month comes after weeks of local protests against racism and police brutality - sparked by the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Once any recall petition is approved, signatures are needed to qualify for a special election ballot. The petitioners must, within 180 days, collect valid signatures from a number of voters equal to 25% of the votes cast in the last election. In this case, signatures from more than 50,000 Seattle voters would be needed.
The Durkan petitioners’ recall effort accuses the mayor of “endanger(ing) the peace and safety of the community” by allowing police to “leak false information about fabricated crimes and threats to the media” and issuing a citywide curfew without sufficient notice to the public. The petitioners also accused Durkan of restricting certain property rights in downtown Seattle and Capitol Hill, the neighborhood where many of the protests took place.
In a response Saturday, Durkan’s chief of staff, Stephanie Formas, said the mayor “consistently has acted to protect the City’s public health and safety and to respect the constitutional rights to peaceful protesters.”
In her ruling Friday, Judge Mary E. Roberts dismissed six of the seven charges put forward as “insufficient,” but allowed one - which accuses Durkan of allowing tear gas and other crowd control weapons to be used during the coronavirus pandemic - to proceed “more narrowly than alleged.”
The judge did not rule on whether the allegation was true. “This court’s role in this case is limited,” she wrote.
The mayor could appeal the ruling, but Formas did not say if she would.
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