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McKinney Voters Recall Councilman La'Shadion Shemwell

McKINNEY, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) - A controversial McKinney City Council Member has lost his seat in a recall election Tuesday, Nov. 3.

La'Shadion Shemwell drew criticism back in October 2019, when during a city council meeting, he called for a "black state of emergency" in Texas.

McKinney City Council Member La'Shadion Shemwell
McKinney City Council Member La'Shadion Shemwell (credit: CBS 11 News)

The call was a response to the deadly shooting of Fort Worth woman Atatiana Jefferson in her home days earlier by a Fort Worth officer resigned and was charged with murder.

A group of citizens got enough signatures on a petition to force the recall election after a series of incidents involving Shemwell, including him getting arrested twice while in office.

Shemwell has been accused by his critics of fanning racial tensions in the city.

At the council meeting on January 7, the city secretary confirmed a recall petition contained more than enough signatures to force a citywide vote.

The recall election was originally planned for May, but was delayed until November due to the coronavirus.

Shemwell released the following statement on being recalled:

"This is not the outcome we wanted, but one we fully expected. Tonight's recall election proved exactly why the City of McKinney is being sued in court for violating the Voting Rights Act and racial discrimination regarding its recall election changes. Since the day I was elected, officials have advocated for my recall. I issued a Black State of Emergency proclamation because I believed our community was being targeted and subjected to systemic violence that needed to be addressed. As only the second ever Black elected official in McKinney, I also became a target.

Despite overcoming the obstacles and hurdles involved in being a Black candidate in a predominantly white city, this so-often-forgotten community beat the odds. I was eager to serve my district and my city, but the city and some of its leaders were upset. The only way they could get rid of me was to constantly move the goal posts and change the rules.

They said I didn't belong on the city council and didn't deserve my seat in District 1, the only majority-minority district in the city.

When they couldn't beat me in my single-member district, they decided they would change the city charter and force me to be recalled by the entire city, rather than by the district in which I was elected. They lowered the number of recall petition signatures needed to recall me. They expanded the number of days they would be allowed to collect those signatures.

The purpose of these efforts was to dilute the voting strength of Black and Latino voters in McKinney by expanding the recall to encompass a city that is classified as nearly 80% white. They wanted to make sure that me and my constituents knew our place in the city. No Black or Latino candidate has ever won citywide in McKinney, and the City's recall efforts guaranteed that I would lose my seat.

Despite all of this, the fight is not over. I'm grateful for everyone who has supported me through this recall, and those who will continue to support me going forward. I have stated from the beginning I would fight this illegal recall process in court, and that is what I will continue to do, not just for me but for every diluted voter and diluted voter and disenfranchised voice in this city."


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