A community in Alabama is calling for the immediate resignation of a council member after he publicly referred to a Black colleague using the N-word in a public debate.
Tarrant City councilman John Bryant used the slur at a livestreamed Monday council meeting. Local Republicans also condemned Bryant for what they called a “racially charged outburst.”
In the video, Bryant stands while discussing a variety of issues with Tarrant Mayor Wayman Newton, who is Black.
Bryant then asked Black councilmember Veronica Freeman, “Do we have a house n*gger in here? Do we? Do we? Would she please stand up?”
Freeman then exits in tears before eventually returning.
Bryant’s defense is that he was repeating something Newton said about Freeman during the executive session.
“He said it in a derogatory manner, I said it so people would know what the mayor said,” Bryant later told WVTM. “The mayor was being derogatory toward Veronica Freeman when he said that.”
Despite the backlash and subsequent calls from Democrats to step down, Bryant says he will not resign. He also denies that he is a racist.
“I did what needed to be done. It needed to be brought to light what kind of a person the mayor is,” he told the local news station.
“It’s according to what your definition of the word racist is. What a lot of the public’s definition is, I might be a racist. But according to what the true definition of a racist is, absolutely not.”
It’s not only the Democrats calling for Bryant’s firing.
Alabama Republican Party Chairman John Wahl told NBC News that the state GOP “is deeply troubled by the racially charged outburst and disrespect shown by Councilman Tommy Bryant.”