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A coalition of Ferguson residents has filed paperwork in an effort to oust the city’s current mayor, James Knowles III.
Five people have filed an affidavit at city hall, notifying officials that they would be collecting signatures demanding a recall election, which, according to Ferguson bylaws, is the first step in removing an elected officer.
“If [the police and court system] have abused people in a way that finally caught national attention because of Michael Brown, James Knowles was the one who made the policies that formed that government,” said Nick Kasoff, a former city council candidate and a local resident who signed the petition, to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, adding that he suspected protests would die down if Knowles were removed from office.
If removed, Knowles would join a growing list of Ferguson city officials who have either resigned or have been fired in the weeks following a Department of Justice investigation examining discriminatory tactics used within the city. The report, which was released earlier this month, uncovered racial bias within the police department, excessive fining within the courts and a history of racist emails that were circulated among city officials.
At the moment, Knowles has no intention of stepping down, though he has said to the Post-Dispatch that running a reelection campaign would be a “distraction.”
“Walking away right now is just not the way I roll,” he said.
The committee has 60 days to gather 1,800 signatures before a recall election is ordered.