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Effort to Recall Filer Mayor, City Council Might Have Stalled

Effort to Recall Filer Mayor, City Council Might Have Stalled

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Filer Continues to Employ Officer Who Shot Dog

DREW NASH • TIMES-NEWS Rick Clubb (center) listens along with the rest of the public during a city council meeting Tuesday evening, March 18, 2014, in Filer.

FILER • Residents have about two weeks left to submit petitions to recall the town’s mayor and entire City Council.

But judging from the “Recall Filer Mayor Rick Dunn” Facebook page, the effort might have stalled.

“The last I knew, the petitions were sitting on a counter in a cafe,” Dunn said Friday. “I think we (council members) have purposely stayed out of it to let the process work.”

The petitions are still at the Highway 30 Cafe in Filer, awaiting more signatures.

A group of residents told the council they had lost faith in their leaders when the city — despite protests — kept a dog-shooting police officer on its payroll.

In early April, resident Josh Wallin got the recall ball rolling by filing prospective petitions with City Clerk Shari Hart.

By Idaho law, Wallin has 75 days from then to gather 201 signatures on the official petitions to force a recall election.

Because the deadline falls on a weekend, the petition must be filed by either Friday, June 20, or Monday, June 23, said Valerie Varadi, Twin Falls County elections director.

Which day is the City of Filer’s call, Varadi said. But Hart was unavailable for comment Friday, as Filer’s city office was closed.

“We are doing this because it is just, and our right to see the future that our town deserves,” the administrator of the Facebook page posted. “... We feel they (city officials) are not listening to us.”

But nothing has been posted by the page administrator since April 28. And Wallin did not respond to requests by the Times-News for information.

In February, Officer Tarek Hassani shot “Hooch” when he tried to serve Rick Clubb with a citation after neighbors complained that Clubb’s dogs were running loose in west Filer.

“I don’t think this is simply a case of a dog being shot,” resident Cynthia Black told the council in March. “This is someone who is out of control, someone who cannot control his actions. (Hassani)’s a loose cannon.”

The dash-cam video from Hassani’s cruiser, first posted on Magicvalley.com, sparked a national outcry.

The city put Hassani on paid leave and followed proper legal procedures during the aftermath of the shooting, Dunn said.

The Nampa Police Department conducted an independent investigation and, though it criticized Hassani’s actions before and after the shooting, the department found the shooting justified.

By early April, Fritz Wonderlich, attorney for Filer, recommended that Hassani be put back on the job, further fueling the fire.

Meanwhile, the City Council has scheduled a mandatory dog-encounter training for city workers, including the police force, for July 19.

The training will be conducted by Canine Encounters Law Enforcement Training, which provides non-lethal alternatives to shooting a dog, CELET’s website says.

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