KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A pro-police group called Take KC Back has announced that they have turned in the required number of petition signatures to the KC city clerk to recall 4th District Councilman Eric Bunch.
“We are proud to announce that on Saturday August 21, 2021, we turned in petitions to recall 4th District Councilman Bunch,” the group said in a press release. “We exceeded our goal in numbers with about 60% of the signatures coming from Jackson County and the remaining 40% from Clay County.”
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.
“Actions have consequences, and the 4th District has held Councilman Bunch accountable,” the group said. “Today was a big win for the 4th District and Kansas City. While we recognize this is the first step in the process, Kansas Citians are fired up and ready to continue to take KC back.”
The group has cited several of Bunch’s past actions as their reasoning for the recall effort and said he has repeatedly “gone against the will of his constituents.”
In January, Bunch called for the resignation of the Kansas City Chief of Police amid pressure from community activists. 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.”
The group also referenced the KC City Council’s vote in May to “reallocate” over $42 million away from the Kansas City Police Department, of which Bunch voted in support of.
“Bunch voted to defund the KCPD by over 42 million dollars without constituent input and without guarantee that the money would go back to the police department,” the group said.
As eight other council members voted to do the same, Bunch doesn’t seem to be the only one in the group’s crosshairs for voting to cut KCPD’s funding – he’s just the first.
“He will be the first councilmember to be recalled for voting to defund KCPD,” the group said. “We will take back Kansas City for common-sense governance. We’ll win this, then the next one, 30 days at a time.”
Bunch and the City Council’s decision to cut KCPD’s funding did not go over well with many Missourians and elected officials. In May, state legislators from Northland Kansas City requested a special session to fight back against the budget cuts. Earlier this month, KC Mayor Quinton Lucas and the City Council came under fire for potential Sunshine Law violations after secret conversations about the vote were unveiled to the public.
The KC Board of Police Commissioners also filed suit against Lucas and the Council almost immediately after the May 20 vote, arguing that state law gives the commissioners “exclusive management and control” of the police department and its appropriated funds.
Take KC Back launched the recall effort on July 22 and had 30 days to gather the signatures of 20% of the total number of people who voted from the 4th District in the last Kansas City election.
According to the City Clerk’s office, the signatures are still in the verification process. If the signatures are verified and deemed legitimate, a date will be set for the recall vote at that point.