White Alabama Councilman Refuses to Resign After Using the N-Word During Public Meeting

Tarrant City Council
Tarrant City Council member Tommy Bryant.City of Tarrant, Alabama

A white Alabama city council meeting is facing mounting criticism for using a racial slur against Black people.

A white Alabama city leader said he won't apologize and he won't resign after saying the N-word during a public meeting earlier this week.

Tarrant City Council member Tommy Bryant ignited an uproar after he stood up from his seat during a Monday open session, and used the racial slur to refer to Black council member Veronica Freeman. The meeting was carried on Facebook Live, and video of proceedings quickly went viral.

Gasps can be heard from audience members, and Freeman breaks down in sobs before she is seen leaving the council chambers.

Bryant said he was repeating a phrase he claimed Black Mayor Wayman Newton made during an earlier private session.

The incident began after Bryant was questioned about allegedly racist comments his wife made on social media.

Bryan responded by saying, "The N-word. The N-word. Let's get to the N-word. Hey, do we have a house n***** in here? Do we? Hey, would she please stand up?

“That’s what the mayor called her. What do y’all think about that? Huh? Y’all like that?” Bryant said.

Bryant later told reporters he would not apologize for his remark and he would not accede to demands he step down. 

“I did what needed to be done. It needed to be brought to light what kind of a person the mayor is,” Bryant told WVTM-TV. 

The mayor denied Bryant's claims.

Both political parties in the state condemned Bryan's remarks.

"Alabama still has a long way to go when it comes to race, but cozying up to the KKK and using the N-word word should make you unfit to serve. These racists belong in the history books with Bull Connor and George Wallace, not on the taxpayer’s payroll," said a statement from the Democratic party.

“The Alabama Republican Party is deeply troubled by the racially charged outburst, and disrespect shown by Councilman Tommy Bryant. Such language is completely unacceptable in any setting, and even more concerning coming from an elected official. We are proud to have Mayor Wayman Newton as a member of the Jefferson County Republican Party, and we stand behind him 100%," the state party chair said in a statement.

The Birmingham chapter of Black Lives Matter called for Bryant to resign and demonstrated Thursday outside the Tarrant City Hall.

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