Mayor claims that an Alabama councilman’s racial slur was part of a “orchestrated” plot to harm him.
While a white city councilman in an Alabama town faces backlash for using a racial slur towards a Black city councilwoman, the town’s mayor claims the incident was staged as a political ploy to harm him.
Video from a town meeting in Tarrant, Alabama, a suburb of Birmingham, went viral on Twitter on July 19, prompting calls for John “Tommy” Bryant’s resignation.
According to Zenger’s analysis of interviews and internet correspondence, Bryant and his wife, who are white, are in a power battle with black first-term mayor Wayman Newton, who has become a disruptive force in one area of the Deep South. Newton claims Bryant and Veronica Bandy Freeman, the councilwoman he insulted, frequently work together to oppose his initiatives in this majority-Black community of around 6,200 people.
During a session Monday night, Bryant was captured on camera pointing to a Black councilwoman and asking, “Do we have a home n*****r in here?” He later explained that he was attempting to draw attention to Newton’s use of the word, which usually refers to a Black American who chooses to serve white people.
Newton denies using the slur, but claims he was singled out for criticizing a fellow African-American legislator who has opposed him on every vote. Both Newton and Bryant are members of the Republican Party. According to Newton, Tarrant city council elections are nonpartisan, and party identification is not necessary.
Nancy Mahler Bryant, Bryant’s wife, alleged in a Facebook post before to Monday’s hearing that Newton sparked the racial fireworks by berating Freeman with the epithet. According to Nancy Bryant, Freeman sided with the white city council faction and opposed Newton’s decision to terminate a private waste collection company and take control of the work.
Nancy Bryant stated on Facebook that “he [Newton] called another council member a home n*****r because she refused to vote with him.” According to the post’s version history, she initially spelled out the two-word racial slur larger but afterwards fixed her blunder, spelling out the two-word racist slur. Nancy Bryant eventually erased her remark, but Newton read it aloud at the town meeting on Monday.
“When the council members didn’t agree with him for independent garbage service, he yelled ‘f-you’ many times,” Nancy Bryant said. This is a condensed version of the information.