He claims he only said it because the mayor used that “kind of terminology.”
A member of the Alabama City Council is facing calls to resign after using a racist slur while pointing to a black colleague during a meeting Monday night.
John “Tommy” Bryant stood up and pointed to black council member Veronica Freeman and said, “Do we have a house N-word in here? Will she please stand up?” During the council meeting.
Video of the meeting was shared on the Facebook page Tarrant, Alabama. The clip shows audience members at the council meeting audibly gasping in response to his use of the slur.
Freeman was later seen hollowing out with his head in his hands before walking out.
Bryant said his use of the slur was to reflect something that Tarrant Mayor Wayman Newton, who is black, allegedly said during a previous private meeting.
“He does not have to use this term in front of everyone, and I thought the city should know the kind of terminology that the mayor uses, and I did not want him to get rid of it. So that’s why I made that comment, “Bryant said in a Tuesday interview with local news station WVTM-TV.
“He said it was derogatory, I said it so people would know what the mayor was saying,” Bryant added. “The mayor was derogatory of Veronica Freeman when he said that.”
When asked if he was racist, Bryant said: “It is in line with what your definition of the word racist is. What a lot of the public definition is, I might be a racist. But according to what the true definition of a racist is, absolutely not. ”
Bryant and Freeman did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment.
Newton, who was sworn in as mayor in November, told ABC News that the allegation that he said the slur “just categorically is not true.”
“Unfortunately, it was a political stunt that went wrong,” he said, adding that “actions” and “beliefs” from some council members “do not represent the city.”
Alabama Democrats demanded that Bryant retire after the outbreak and said ia announcement, “He is racist and unfit to serve.”
Alabama still has a long way to go when it comes to race, but having fun with the KKK and using the N-word should make you unfit to serve. These racists belong in the history books with Bull Connor and George Wallace, not on the taxpayers’ payroll, ”the statement added.
Alabama Republican Party chairman John Wahl said Bryant’s behavior was “completely unacceptable in any case,” but did not say whether he felt he should resign.
“The Republican Party in Alabama is deeply concerned about the racist charge and disrespect shown by Councilman Tommy Bryant. “Such a language is completely unacceptable in any setting, and even more so in terms of coming from an elected official,” Wahl told Alabama Local News.