Petition signatures sufficient to trigger recall election for McKinney City Council member

A petition aiming to recall McKinney City Council member La'Shadion Shemwell was found to have a sufficient number of signatures to trigger a recall election in May. (courtesy city of McKinney)
A petition aiming to recall McKinney City Council member La'Shadion Shemwell was found to have a sufficient number of signatures to trigger a recall election in May. (courtesy city of McKinney)

A petition aiming to recall McKinney City Council member La'Shadion Shemwell was found to have a sufficient number of signatures to trigger a recall election in May. (courtesy city of McKinney)

McKinney City Council member La’Shadion Shemwell must now decide whether to step down from his District 1 seat or face a recall election in May after a petition aiming to remove him from office was found to have a valid number of signatures.

During a Jan. 7 council meeting announcing the petition results, Shemwell said stepping down is not going to happen.

“I will fight with every breath in my body,” Shemwell said. “What is the point of having a First Amendment right to speak if I cannot use it? ... The people voted for me, and I represent the people ... To my district, you elected me to speak my voice, and that’s what I will do.”

The petition was turned into the city secretary’s office on Dec. 27 with 3,313 signatures—3,062 of which came from registered McKinney voters, according to city secretary Empress Drane. That is nearly 1,000 more than the 2,125 signatures needed to validate the petition.

Signatures from at least 30% of the total number of voters who voted in the last general election are needed to validate a recall petition, according to the city charter. Drane said 7,082 people voted in the May 4 election.

Shemwell has five days to resign from his seat on council, McKinney City Attorney Mark Houser said. If Shemwell does not resign, an item will be put on the Jan. 21 City Council agenda to place a recall election on the May 2 general election ballot.

It would then be up to McKinney voters. According to the city, registered voters from all McKinney council districts may cast ballots in the recall election.

The rules are mandated by the city’s charter. Two amendments made by voters during last May’s election ultimately made the process to trigger recall elections easier for citizens.

Shemwell, who was elected to a four-year term in 2017, said after the meeting that his next steps would be to work with a lawyer about possibly filing a lawsuit against the city.

The validation of the recall petition follows a series of contentious McKinney City Council meetings in which racially heated conversations dominated. The most notable meeting took place on Oct. 15 when Shemwell attempted to declare an official “Black State of Emergency” in Texas after two black residents were killed in their homes by police officers in other cities during separate incidents.

During the October meeting, Shemwell said: “the state of Texas and its local governments have declared war on black and brown citizens by conspiring to kill, injure, oppress, threaten, and intimidate, and to willfully deprive citizens of their constitutional rights while acting under color of law.”

This statement led to a separate ethics complaint filed against Shemwell by a citizen on Dec. 12. The complaint alleges Shemwell's statement violated the city’s “code of ethical conduct in that it alleges criminal conduct by local and state officials.”

The potential ethics code violation is currently under review by a third-party attorney after the council voted during a Dec. 17 meeting to have the complaint further investigated.

Shemwell has until Monday, Jan. 13, to decided whether or not to step down from his seat or face a recall election in May.
By Emily Davis
Emily graduated from Sam Houston State University with a degree in multi-platform journalism and a minor in criminal justice in Spring 2018. During her studies, Emily worked as an editor and reporter at The Houstonian, SHSU's local newspaper. Upon graduation, she began an editorial internship at Community Impact Newspaper in DFW, where she was then hired as Community Impact's first McKinney reporter in August 2018.


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