Sawant calls for Murray resignation in wake of sexual abuse claims
City councilmember Kshama Sawant called for Seattle Mayor Ed Murray's resignation Monday morning in a guest column in The Stranger while also asking the city council to show leadership.
Sawant is the second city councilmember to call for Murray to step down after sexual abuse allegations have surfaced in recent months, including documents that said Murray could never serve as a foster parent in Oregon after he allegedly abused his foster son.
"Mayor Murray himself has set a poor example," Sawant wrote. "He has repeatedly attacked the character of his accusers, and shifted the focus to their troubled backgrounds to suggest they cannot be trusted."
Sawant commended the Seattle LGBTQ commission and city councilmember Lorena Gonzalez for asking for Murray to step down. Four former Seattle mayors expressed their support for Murray and said he should stay in office to continue day-to-day tasks.
"Murray’s actual guilt or innocence on the charges of sexual abuse cannot and should not be determined in a court of public opinion," Sawant wrote. "That remains true, and neither I nor the City Council as a body are in a position to judge the veracity of the specific allegations."
If Murray refuses to step down, Sawant said it's the city council's responsibility to remove him, calling it a political decision.
"Impeaching the mayor is not a statement of guilt or innocence, but rather a decision to put the burning needs of our city above the political interests and career of one person," she wrote.
Murray has said he will continue to serve Seattle through the end of his term. In May, he called off a reelection campaign. He endorsed Jenny Durkan for mayor in late June.
We asked Murray for a response. He declined to comment.
Mary Dispenza, of the SNAP Network, which is made up of sexual assault and abuse survivors, also publicly called for Murray's removal on Monday. She told the Council it was time for Murray to step down, or be removed. "The longer he says in his position, the more traumatized his survivors become," she told reporters.