Judge rules petition to recall Seattle mayor can move forward

A judge ruled Friday that a petition to recall Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan can move forward as there was enough evidence for one of seven allegations against her, accusing the mayor of violating her oath of office.

That allegation pertained to the police use of chemical weapons, and specifically how Durkan acted after learning police used tear gas on protesters during the pandemic.

The charge reads:

Charge B alleges that Mayor Durkan failed to institute new policies and safety measures for SPD to prohibit the use of tear gas and other chemical crowd control agents by SPD when such use would be particularly detrimental to public health during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Recall Petitioners further allege that Mayor Durkan knowingly allowed SPD officers to continue to use chemical crowd control agents over many days without concern for the health and well-being of the community, constituting misfeasance, malfeasance, and violation of oath of office. Any alleged failure of Mayor Durkan to prohibit use of chemical crowd control agents by SPD based on the early conduct before she can be said to have been aware, are legally and factually insufficient. To the extent the allegations pertain to failure to step in to stop the use of chemical crowd control agents after Mayor Durkan is alleged to have become aware of and opposed to their alleged use on peaceful protesters as a means of crowd control, such allegations are legally and factually sufficient to go forward.

With the petition getting the green light, petitioners can gather signatures to put it on the ballot, but it would need about 54,000 legal signatures, equating to 25% of votes cast in the 2017 mayoral election.

Last week, attorneys for the mayor had called the filed petition frivolous, saying it’ is the court’s duty to make sure unsubstantiated petitions do not reach voters.