TARRANT, Alabama – A White City leader captured on video using a racial slurs towards black people at a council meeting said he would not apologize and could run for mayor. Others are calling for his resignation.
Tarrant City Council member Tommy Bryant told media his use of the word Monday night reflected something the town’s black mayor Wayman Newton said in a previous private meeting.
During a public session, Bryant used the insult to refer to a black female board member, Veronica Freeman. Before the explosion, neighbors asked Bryant about controversial social media posts allegedly made by his wife about race, CBS affiliate WIAT-TV reports.
After being questioned, Bryant stood up and we can hear him say, “The n-word. The n-word. Let’s move on to the n-word. Hey. Do we have a n ***** house here? Have we? Hey. Could she stand up please? ”Said Bryant.
Some in the audience gasped at his use of the insult, which was broadcast on Facebook Live, and Freeman left crying, but Bryant did not apologize.
“I did what needed to be done. It needed to shine a light on the kind of person the mayor is,” Bryant told WIAT-TV.
The mayor said the video spoke for itself and, in an interview with al.com, denied using the same insult Bryant uttered during the meeting.
When asked if he was a racist, Bryant refused.
“It’s according to your definition of the word racist. Whatever the public definition, I may be racist. But according to the true definition of a racist, absolutely not,” he told WVTM.
The Alabama NAACP called for Bryant’s resignation, saying he had “dishonored himself and tainted the post he holds.”
While the municipal election is non-partisan in Alabama, the state Democratic Party issued a statement calling for Bryant’s resignation, and the Alabama GOP noted that Mayor Newton is a Republican and said the Bryant’s remark was “totally unacceptable”.
WIAT-TV contacted Newton, but he declined an interview and said the video from Monday’s meeting “spoke for itself.”
Tarrant, which borders Birmingham, has a population of around 6,100 and around 53% black, according to census statistics.
Waynette Bonham, who is black and also identifies as a member of the LGBTQ + community, told WIAT Bryant is expected to step down.
“I was like this is the person who is supposed to serve our communities? Like, this is supposed to be our representation, he has his own district in Tarrant? No,” Bonham said.