West University councilwoman claims she ‘misjudged’ teens’ ages in disorderly conduct case as recall talk grows
Embattled West University City Councilwoman Kellye Burke is standing firm Friday that she “did not commit any type of crime” in an incident involving her confronting a young female supporter of President Trump and other teens whose age she now says she “misjudged.” Meantime, the story has gone viral in headlines around the world — from Fox News to the New York Daily News to the London-based Daily Mail, while talk of a recall grows in West U.
“As I expressed to the parents who agreed to meet with me, it was not my intent to upset the teens,” Burke said in a statement to Instant News Friday afternoon. “I regret the choice of words I used and that I misjudged their age. I have, and will continue to, apologize to them for that.”
News and partisan websites across the U.S. and the globe are carrying accounts of the incident last Saturday outside Tiny’s Milk & Cookies, 3636 Rice Blvd. Burke, 50, has been charged with disorderly conduct for allegedly launching a verbal attack on the four girls buying cookies, apparently triggered by one of the girls wearing a Trump T-shirt.
Despite the offense being a Class C misdemeanor and her repeated claims that she was not guilty of any crime, Burke has retained high-profile criminal defense attorney Rusty Hardin.
She reportedly yelled, “grab her by the p#$$y, girls!” (referring to an audio recording of Trump, made by the TV show Access Hollywood in 2005) and “MAGA, MAGA!” (Make America Great Again, Trump’s campaign slogan).
Parents told authorities and Channel 2 News that the girls felt threatened by Burke’s behavior. If convicted, she could draw a $500 fine.
Politically, Burke is facing the ire of West U residents — with some exploring options for and demanding a recall — while attracting support from anti-Trump factions, including gun control advocates, based on her visible involvement with the group, Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.
City Manager Chris Peifer told InstantNewsWestU.com Friday afternoon that four residents had requested information about options to remove Burke from office.
Section 4.07 of the West U city code stipulates that a petition containing the signatures of 15 percent of all qualified voters in West U — currently 1,656 of 11,040 — “demanding the removal of the elected officer” would direct the City Council to hold a recall election. The rest of the code describes that a majority of votes would be enough to recall the officeholder, and would trigger a special election to fill the vacancy.
Burke’s earlier statement, issued Thursday through Hardin, fanned the flames. “…I do not believe repeating the words of the president of the United States is a crime,” it read in part. Saying she had “repeatedly apologized for the bad judgment I used and making the statement I did,” Burke concluded, “…I will apologize again on behalf of myself, the president of the united states (sic) and all the media outlets who repeated his words both electronically and in print.”
A 12-year resident of West U, the business consultant was elected to council in 2017. She drew 1,264 votes, the second-highest total in a field of eight candidates.