Texas is a state that is not known for having a great history with racial relations and one Black councilman may lose his position for attempting to speak out.
La’Shadion Shemwell, the only Black councilman in McKinney, Texas, has landed in hot water after proposing to declare a “Black State of Emergency” following a string of high profile cases involving police fatally shooting Black people. According to The Hill, Shemwell, who was elected in 2017 also reportedly encouraged people of color to avoid visiting the state.
After backlash from constituents, Shemwell tried to clarify his intentions at a Nov. 5 city council meeting saying, “my comments are not an indictment of all officers,” but it looks like that was not enough.
Jolie Williams, who organized the campaign to recall Shemwell as a councilman, told The Dallas Morning News that she other supporters collected more than 3,000 signatures, well above the 2,100 threshold set by law.
“We’ve done our work,” Williams said. “We’re confident in our numbers. It’s been an ongoing issue with Mr. Shemwell’s behavior and disregard for law enforcement, the charter and ethics policy, in which he voted in favor.”
McKinney Mayor George Fuller has also been in favor of the removal of Shemwell.
“Discussion concerning racism is critical to furthering racial equality, but lies and false narratives at the expense of our community’s well being, is simply not an acceptable means to initiate that discussion,” Fuller argued in a statement.
Supporters of Shemwell believe that the fight for his removal stemmed from his speaking out against racism and police brutality. It is important to note that McKinney is the location of the 2015 viral video of a white police officer pulling a gun on Black high school students. The video also showed the officer violently restrain a 14-year-old girl. The officer involved, Eric Casebolt, resigned days later. The councilman has also accused McKinney police of racially profiling him during a traffic stop in 2018.
If Williams and her supporters are able to get the signatures validated, the recall could be in front of the council as soon as Jan. 7.