Lawsuit filed against city of McKinney by council member facing recall election in May

gavel on wood shelf adobe stock image
McKinney City Council Member La’Shadion Shemwell filed a lawsuit against the city of McKinney on Jan. 20. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

McKinney City Council Member La’Shadion Shemwell filed a lawsuit against the city of McKinney on Jan. 20. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

McKinney City Council Member La’Shadion Shemwell is suing the city in an effort to remain in his District 1 seat.

Shemwell filed a federal lawsuit Jan. 20, the day before McKinney City Council voted to hold a recall election that could potentially remove him from elective office.

The suit seeks to halt the recall process, declare portions of the McKinney City Charter unconstitutional and award unspecified monetary damages and attorney’s fees to Shemwell.

The upcoming election was triggered by a recall petition signed by more than 3,000 registered McKinney voters—nearly 1,000 more than were needed to start a recall process. As mandated by the city charter, following the petition, the city had no choice but to put the potential recall on the May 2 general election ballot.

The recall election comes less than a year after voters approved two amendments to the city charter. These amendments ultimately made the process to trigger recall elections easier by decreasing the number of signatures needed and increasing the time frame a petition during which can be circulated.



Under the city charter, any registered voter in McKinney is allowed to sign a recall petition or vote in a recall election. But Shemwell is one of four council members who represents a district within the city; he was elected only by voters living within that district.

Shemwell, who was elected in 2017, claims the city charter is unconstitutional because it dilutes the votes of District 1 residents by allowing the entire city to vote on his possible recall.

“This is voter suppression 2020,” Shemwell said in a Facebook video posted Jan. 22. “They are taking away the [voices] of 50,000 people in District 1 to vote for who they want to represent them.”

The city charter has required recall elections and petitions to be citywide since 1959, according to McKinney Mayor George Fuller.

"His actions ... do not just impact District 1. They impact every single taxpayer in this city,” said Fuller, who favors recalling Shemwell.

Shemwell’s lawsuit also claims that the recent charter amendments were aimed specifically for his removal, which he said undermines the democratic process in McKinney.

“The city of McKinney contends that they have no choice in the matter; they are mandated by the state of Texas now that a petition has been signed to push forth [with a recall election],” Shemwell said in the Facebook video. “So our only option at this point is to file the federal lawsuit for voter suppression and discrimination and to have a federal judge rule that this is unconstitutional and that the charter needs to be changed to align with the constitution of the United States of America.”

In the video, he said if his suit is unsuccessful, he will run an “all-out, citywide campaign."

The recall petition spells out the reasons behind the effort to remove Shemwell. It claims that he “has not upheld his oath of office, has violated the City Charter, has disregarded the City of McKinney Code of Ethical Conduct [and] has not appeared at meetings and events at which he agreed to represent his constituents.” The recall petition also alleges that Shemwell “made inflammatory statements about residents and staff of the City of McKinney."

Shemwell’s attorney in the federal lawsuit did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

A hearing on the suit is set for Feb. 4. See the initial complaint here.

SHARE THIS STORY
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.


MOST RECENT

The Public Utility Commission of Texas voted Feb. 27 to move forward toward a review of the North Texas Municipal Water District’s rate structure for its 13 member cities. (Cassidy Ritter/Community Impact Newspaper)
Texas commission sides with Plano, Richardson in water-rate dispute

A state arbiter said the North Texas Municipal Water District’s rate structure was adverse to the public interest, a decision that could have a ripple effect on consumer water bills throughout the growing region.

The facility will offer 510 independent living units for seniors to rent as well as 75 villa-style condominiums for seniors to purchase. (courtesy Country Lane)
The Victoria brings new senior living campus to McKinney

The facility will offer 510 independent living units for seniors to rent as well as 75 villa-style condominiums for seniors to purchase.

Row House is a fitness center that offers indoor rowing workouts. (Courtesy Row House)
Row House now open in McKinney offering indoor rowing workouts

Row House is a fitness center that offers indoor rowing workouts.

The academy will offer three licensing programs, including one for eyelash extensions, aesthetics and instructor licenses. (courtesy Flavous Beauty Academy)
Flavous Beauty Academy opening soon in McKInney

The academy will offer three licensing programs, including one for eyelash extensions, aesthetics and instructor licenses.

myHomedia is now open in McKinney on Custer Road. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
myHomedia now open in McKinney on Custer Road

The store helps customers transform regular homes into “smart homes” with various technologies.

Patients need blood every two seconds somewhere in the U.S., Hale said, and Type O is the most in-demand, according to the American Red Cross. (Courtesy Sanford Myers and American Red Cross)
American Red Cross sees urgent need for blood donations

The American Red Cross urgently needs blood donors of all types, according to Jan Hale with the organization's biomedical services department.

A number of community members spoke in support of the dual language program at Caldwell Elementary Feb. 25 at a regular board meeting. (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)
McKinney ISD dual language program will continue at Caldwell Elementary in 2020-21 school year

The dual language program at Caldwell Elementary will continue into the 2020-21 school year, according to McKinney ISD superintendent Rick McDaniel.

The calendar approved at the Feb. 25 board meeting will follow similar patterns as the year before. (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)
Collin College approves 2020-21 academic calendar

Collin College approved its 2020-21 academic calendar Feb. 25 at a board meeting.

Philip Hassler was sworn onto the McKinney ISD’s Board of Trustees during a Feb. 25 meeting. (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)
McKinney ISD board of trustees appoints Philip Hassler as new Place 2 representative

Philip Hassler was appointed Feb. 24 to the Place 2 position on the McKinney ISD board of trustees.

Azure Photography relocated its studio to a new space inside The Mill at East McKinney. (Emily Davis/Community Impact Newspaper)
Azure Photography relocates studio to The Mill at East McKinney

Azure Photography relocated its studio Feb. 1 to a new space within The Mill at East McKinney.

McKinney considers closing concrete batch plants

On Feb. 26, the city's board of adjustments will hold the first public hearing regarding the potential closing of concrete plants CowTown Redi-Mix and Martin Marietta.

Blockit delivers advanced technology solutions in an effort to connect different healthcare data systems for the purpose of easing the administrative burden on physicians. (courtesy Adobe Stock)
Health tech company Blockit receives MEDC grant funding, will expand McKinney headquarters

Blockit, a locally based health technology company, has plans to expand its headquarters at the Cotton Mill in McKinney.

Back to top