Washington Supreme Court dismisses recall effort against Seattle mayor

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Washington’s Supreme Court on Thursday unanimously rejected a recall effort against Seattle Mayor Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan over her handling of widespread summer protests.

The recall effort, led by six Seattle residents, blames the mayor for the Seattle Police Department’s indiscriminate use of tear gas during weeks of protests against racial injustice and police brutality sparked by the police custody death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

FILE: Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan addresses a news conference about changes being made in the police department in Seattle. 

The residents said the use of tear gas during a respiratory pandemic was dangerous, and that once it became clear that officers were violating the rights of protesters and others by using tear gas, the mayor was obligated to make the department stop.

The state’s supreme court justices said that even if true, the allegations brought against Durkan would not amount to “misfeasance, malfeasance or violation of the oath of office.”

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

Durkan had argued that the allegations amounted to a policy disagreement, not grounds for her removal.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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