City council member Tommy Bryant for the Alabama city of Tarrant is under fire after standing up and loudly asking, “Do we have a house n***er in here?” during a city council meeting on Monday night, according to Bama Politics.
Tensions have long existed between Council Member Bryant and Mayor Wayman Newton. A story published last month by The Daily Beast goes into great detail about Tarrant’s racial issues, and specifically mentions an incident in which Bryant admits to calling Newton a “little boy” in order to provoke Newton into a fight.
Newton only admitted to using “foul language” once in private with Bryant, after the councilman called him “boy.”
Newton stated that if you know anything about the history of the South and race relations, having a 75-year-old man call a 40-year-old Black man a boy is extremely offensive.
In response, Bryant claimed that he called Newton a “little boy” instead, that Newton was trying to provoke him, and that he only meant the remark to “turn the tide” on the situation.
Bryant claimed he was simply trying to irritate Newton with the remark.
The incident that led to Bryant’s use of the racist insult during the meeting begins when a resident identified as Chuck appears to speak up for Bryant, accusing the other city council members of using Bryant as a political pawn.
Chuck questions Bryant about why he hasn’t defended himself in the past, and then challenges Bryant to do so.
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Bryant takes the floor for the next few minutes, and his points are scattered.
Bryant and Newton have a few back-and-forths, and Bryant starts complaining about being impeded in the past.
Newton takes the floor shortly after the 1 hour and 38-minute mark in the video and brings up Bryant’s wife and her social media posts.
The conversation progresses from there, with another city council member commenting on his wife’s social media posts and Bryant defending himself by stating that his wife does not speak for him.
An unidentified audience member claims that Bryant’s wife used the n-word on Facebook shortly before the 1 hour and 41-minute mark.
This leads directly into Bryant’s use of the racial slur, saying, “Let’s get to the n-word.” before saying, “Do we have a house n***er in here?” pointing to his left, apparently directing attention to city council member Veronica Freeman and claiming Newton used the slur in reference to her.
There are audible gasps in the audience at this point, and just over a minute later, Freeman, sitting close to Newton, can be seen sobbing into her hands in front of the camera, only to leave and continue to cry off camera.
The video continues for another 30 minutes, with discussions on racial tensions in the city and Mayor Newton proposing a racial town hall meeting.
When asked if he would be interested in participating, Bryant pauses and says, “I’ll have to think about that.”
The entire city council meeting, unedited, can be viewed below.
Bryant’s resignation has been demanded by the Alabama Democratic Party.
“Last night, Tarrant City Council Member John “Tommy” Bryant stood up and used the N word at a City Council Meeting. He is a racist and unfit to serve.
He now joins fellow racists and Republicans Rep. Will Dismukes, Blount County Commissioner Dean Calvert as embarrassments to Alabama and the Republican party.
Alabama still has a long way to go when it comes to race, but cozying up to 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 taxpayer’s payroll.”
Alabama Republican Party Chairman John Wahl issued the following statement:
“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 deeply appreciate his commitment to serving his constituents honorably, even in the face of adversity.”
Bryant has so far remained defiant, stating that instead of resigning, he intends to run for Mayor.