A Muslim advocacy group is calling for the resignation of Independence City Council Member Curt Dougherty following comments he made during Monday's council meeting.
The Kansas chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Kansas), posted on its website Wednesday that it calls for Dougherty’s resignation after he referred to discount smoke shops as “owned mostly by Middle Easterns who will sell anything out the back door.”
Dougherty's comment elicited some murmurs from the citizens who attended the meeting, but no specific follow-up from council members.
“This kind of negative stereotyping and racism is completely unbecoming of an elected official,” CAIR-Kansas Board Chair Moussa Elbayoumy said in the statement calling for Dougherty's resignation. “Mr. Dougherty’s bigoted statement shows that he is unable to represent a diverse constituency.”
Dougherty's remark came during the council's discussion of proposed medical marijuana facility regulations, and he proposed that all such facilities need a special-use permit to operate in Independence.
Dougherty explained that the city puts a cap on several types of businesses for various reasons, including payday loan places, pawn shops, tattoo shops, residential trash pick-ups and fireworks stands, in addition to discount smoke shops.
Dougherty, a former state representative, is in his second four-year term on the council representing District 2, generally the city's northeast. His seat is up for re-election in 2020. Dougherty has not returned phone messages or email seeking further comment from Monday or a response to Wednesday's call to resign.