Petition to Recall Ferguson Mayor Knowles Stalled by Signatures

by Phil Helsel /  / Updated 

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A petition seeking to recall the mayor of Ferguson, Missouri, amid racial tensions over policing has fallen short after more than half the signatures were reportedly disqualified.

The St. Louis suburb was roiled by protests after the shooting death of unarmed black teen Michael Brown by a white police officer and an alleged pattern of racial policing.

The St. Louis County Board of Election Commissioners found about 800 fewer authentic signatures than the 1,800 needed to put the recall of Mayor James Knowles III before voters, NBC station KSDK of St. Louis reported Tuesday.

The board disqualified 1,125 of the 2,133 signatures presented, most of them because signers either weren't registered to vote in St. Louis County or were voters registered in the county but not in Ferguson, KSDK reported. Other entries had no signatures, were duplicates or listed no address.

The group seeking the petition, Ground Level Support, has 10 days to gather the additional signatures it needs. The group needs 1,800 signatures, and 1,008 were ruled valid, the station reported.

There were calls for Knowles to resign after a Justice Department investigation conducted after Brown’s Aug. 9 death alleged a pattern of racially biased policing in the city of about 20,000 people.

Knowles told "NBC Nightly News" anchor Lester Holt in March that he had no plans to step down.

Ferguson's police chief, municipal judge and city manager and two police officers quit after being named in the report, and the city's top court clerk was fired. The white police officer who shot Brown, Darren Wilson, resigned from the police department. A grand jury declined to indict him in Brown's death.

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