McKinney voters moved closer to ousting a council member they say is hurting the city with divisive rhetoric and unethical behavior.

On Friday, citizens delivered a petition to recall Council Member La’Shadion Shemwell containing over 3,000 signatures—well above the 2,127 needed to initiate a recall vote.

Organizers say the Recall Shemwell drive is a nonpartisan grassroots effort spurred by Shemwell’s inflammatory statements about the city.

Shemwell, a community activist affiliated with Black Lives Matter, was elected to represent District 1 in 2017.

In 2018, he blamed McKinney police for his arrest following a traffic stop, claiming their actions were racially motivated. Police body camera video released days later contradicted Shemwell’s version of events. He was censured by council over the incident.

During a council meeting this October, Shemwell proclaimed a “Black State of Emergency,” saying “the state of Texas and its local governments have declared war on black and brown citizens by conspiring to kill, injure, oppress, threaten, and intimidate, and to willfully deprive citizens of their constitutional rights while acting under the color of law.”

“McKinney is not exempt from these atrocities,” he added. That sparked an ethics complaint and the Recall Shemwell effort.

“That was just way too much for me,” said McKinney resident Al Perry, who supported Shemwell in 2017 but now backs the recall. “He’s got to go.”

Perry said he campaigned hard for Shemwell, believing he would start a conversation about race in a productive way.

“Many of us were fooled,” he said. Shemwell is now promoting a false narrative about institutional racism in McKinney that is delivering “a crushing blow to our community we’ve done absolutely nothing to earn.”

“That’s what makes it necessary that we remove him from office,” Perry said.

After validating signatures, the city secretary will present the petition to council. That should happen at the next city council meeting on January 7.

If Shemwell doesn’t resign within five days, council will order a citywide recall election for May. McKinney voters will then decide if Shemwell stays or goes.

Erin Anderson

Erin Anderson is a Senior Journalist for Texas Scorecard, reporting on state and local issues, events, and government actions that impact people in communities throughout Texas and the DFW Metroplex. A native Texan, Erin grew up in the Houston area and now lives in Collin County.