Washington Supreme Court throws out petition to recall Seattle mayor


The Washington state Supreme Court has thrown out a petition that would have recalled Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan from office, it announced Thursday afternoon.

The petition was led by six Seattle petitioners who accused Durkan of endangering protesters demonstrating against police brutality this summer by failing to create appropriate police procedures regarding the use of tear gas and other weapons.

A federal judge issued a restraining order in June banning the Seattle Police Department from using tear gas up until the U.S. Justice Department won an appeal overturning it.

In a two-page ruling, the Washington justices unanimously concluded that Durkan’s responses to protests against police brutality this summer did not break the law as petitioners claimed.

They wrote that Durkan’s alleged conduct as described in the petition did not amount to “misfeasance, malfeasance, or violation of oath of office.”

“The allegations in this case are deeply troubling and our review requires that we treat the factual allegations as true,” the justices wrote. “Nevertheless, after carefully considering the issues presented, the court concludes that the recall charges presented in this case are factually and legally insufficient.”

Durkan has maintained that police tactics were up to former Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best to determine.

The court’s decision on Thursday comes after the Seattle Human Rights Commission called for Durkan to resign for her failure to “protect the rights of Seattle citizens” during protests.

The city commission is comprised of 21 representatives who advise Durkan, the Seattle City Council, and the Office for Civil Rights.

Durkan has since proposed a $100 million investment in Seattle’s minority communities as part of the 2021 budget.

The proposal, which also makes large cuts to community centers and city parks, is light on details and has drawn skepticism from activist groups like King County Equity Now.

That proposal followed Durkan’s months-long fight with the Seattle City Council over this year’s police budget which was finally approved after council members overrode her veto of a 1% cut.

A petition to recall Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant faces a likely legal challenge from the council member.

Voters will decide Durkan’s political fate upon her reelection in 2021 should she choose to run for a second term.

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