KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A pro-police group called Take KC Back has collected half of the signatures needed for their effort to recall Fourth District Councilman Eric Bunch, the group announced on Monday.
The effort is in response to Bunch, Mayor Quinton Lucas and several other members of the City Council voting to cut over $40 million from the Kansas City Police Department.
“Eric Bunch’s decision to vote with the Mayor and 7 other city council members to defund the KCPD on May 20, 2021 has his 4th district constituents ready to hold him accountable,” the press release read. “After 15 days of signature collecting, volunteers have collected 50% of the signatures necessary to recall councilman Bunch.”
In January, Bunch also called for the resignation of the Kansas City Chief of Police amid pressure from the Defund the Police movement. Take KC Back said the call for resignation was “without merit” and that Bunch “[bowed] to the radical protestors who also call for defunding the police.”
Fourth district resident and Take KC Back supporter Nathan Willett has been very vocal about his concerns with Bunch. Willett has also participated in gathering signatures for the recall effort.
“Bunch has yet to defend his position on demanding the Chief of Police be fired, a position so out of the mainstream that no other council member has publicly expressed,” Willett told The Heartlander. “Bunch did not campaign on same day ordinances, especially ones that legal experts believe violated the law.”
Willett was referencing questions that have been raised about the legality of the Council’s vote to cut the Kansas City Police Department’s budget and secret discussions that occurred leading up to the vote.
Individuals helping with the recall effort have been registering residents to vote on the spot and even translating materials into Spanish if needed.
“We’re having success with all voters, of all backgrounds, right now,” Willett said. “We’re sticking to just strictly police and process. Had lots of great conversations with people, even some people who didn’t sign the petition who are really just encouraged that there’s people going around and getting involved with civic discourse and trying to have more transparency, because what happened on May 20 was not transparent at all.”
In response to Take KC Back’s effort, Bunch seems to be concerned that he will eventually have to face a recall vote as he referenced the effort in a recent campaign fundraising email, saying he isn’t “leaving anything to chance.”
“You don’t respond to a recall effort by begging people for money if you don’t think it’s legit,” Willett said. “Kansas Citians in the fourth district from all walks of life believe they deserve representation from someone who can bring people together on tough issues, not divide and polarize like he’s done on the police issue.”
In order to successfully recall Bunch, Take KC Back must collect the signatures of 20% of the total number of people who voted from the 4th District in the last Kansas City election. within 30 days of filing the affidavit. Once the signatures are collected and verified, Bunch will face a recall election where he could be voted out of his position.
“We will take back Kansas City for common-sense governance. We’ll win this, then the next one, 30 days at a time. Actions have consequences in Kansas City,” the group said.
Take KC Back has until August 22 to gather the necessary number of signatures to prompt a recount. The group encourages voters in Kansas City’s 4th District to sign the petition here.