- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 27, 2015

FERGUSON, Mo. (AP) - A group says it has enough signatures to prompt a recall election of Ferguson Mayor James Knowles III.

Member Alicia Street of Ground Level Support told the City Council on Tuesday night that it tried that day to submit the petition but was told the city clerk wasn’t in the building. The group will try again Wednesday to hand in the petition with more than 1,800 signatures.

The city said in a statement that once the signatures are submitted, they’ll be passed to the St. Louis County Board of Election Commissioners for verification.

Knowles was criticized for comments he made following the August shooting death of black 18-year-old Michael Brown by a white police officer, including a denial that the community was racially divided, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (https://bit.ly/1Hw2mcw ) reported.

A grand jury cleared the officer in the shooting but Brown’s death prompted an investigation by the federal government. The Justice Department report sharply criticized the city’s police department and municipal court for raising money by ticketing the poor. It resulted in the departure of five city employees, including the city manager and police chief.

Resident Nick Kasoff was part of the effort to gather recall signatures, but still noted that the mayor hasn’t treated him anything but with kindness.

“But sometimes you’re just not the right person for the job,” he said. “The division and the hostility in our town has gotten worse. Every month it gets worse.”

Knowles also heard from several supporters at the meeting including Blake Ashby, who said he thinks Knowles has done a “pretty darn good job.”

Knowles thanked everyone at the end of the meeting for their comments.

“One thing I’ve tried not to do is take sides,” he said. “I’ve never felt that taking a side is moving a community forward.”

___

Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, https://www.stltoday.com


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