Nearly ten months after the death of Michael Brown, the mayor of Ferguson, Missouri, might be on his way out of office for his handling of the entire situation. Many citizens of Ferguson have decided they’re done with the way Mayor Knowles — and other officials — have been handling racial relations, protests, and police-citizen relations, and they want to scrap (much of) the local government and start over.
Mayor James Knowles is one of those authority figures.
Knowles has received criticism for a number of actions, including his complaints about the DOJ investigation. The DOJ investigation found racist emails sent from city officials, racial disparity in police investigation, and other injustices based on race — for example, it found that every police dog bite victim was a black citizen. However, according to the Guardian, Mayor Knowles complained that the investigation focused too much on race.
Knowles claimed this was because of poverty — that the reason 93% of police stops in 2012-2014 were black citizens, when the population of the area is approximately 63% African-American, is because poverty levels in certain neighborhoods made it necessary to focus on those areas.
According to Essence, many citizens feel that if there were policies in place that were racially inequal, Mayor Knowles is responsible for implementing them — or at best, was responsible for putting a stop to them, and failed to do so.
With many calling for his job, the mayor, who ran unopposed in the last election, has informed the populace that he will not step down voluntarily.
STL Today reports, though, that the citizens are attempting to take the decision out of Knowles’ hands: they’ve gathered enough names (15% of registered voters) on a petition to demand a recall election, and turned it over to city officials.
Once the signatures are verified with the voter rolls, the city council is required to move forward with the recall election, and the Ferguson mayor may be on his way out of office.