Alabama lawmaker facing calls to resign after using racial slur in council meeting

A white city council member in Alabama has refused calls to resign or apologize after he openly used a racial slur during a meeting.

Tommy Bryant, a member of the Tarrant City Council, claimed his use of the racial slur was reflective of what Tarrant Mayor Wayman Newton, who is Black, said in a private meeting earlier, according to The Associated Press.

During a meeting Monday evening that was livestreamed on Facebook, Bryant stood up and referred to Black council member Veronica Freeman by saying, "Do we have a house [racial slur] in here? Would she please stand up?"

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According to the AP, Bryant's remarks elicited gasps from some in the audience, and Freeman left the meeting crying.

Tarrant resident Waynette Bonham, who was at the meeting and now says Bryant should resign, told NBC News that the outburst was in response to her questioning him about why his wife, Nancy Bryant, had used the word on Facebook while allegedly quoting Newton.

Bryant has since refused to apologize.

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

When asked if he is a racist, Bryant said, "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."

The Hill has reached out to Newton, Bryant and Freeman for further comment regarding the incident.

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Just over 50 percent of Tarrant, which sits next to Birmingham, is Black, the AP reports, citing U.S. census statistics.

The Alabama Democratic Party called for Bryant's resignation Monday shortly after the incident.

"He is a racist and unfit to serve," the party said in a statement. "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."

In a statement to NBC, Alabama Republican Party Chairman John Wahl said the state GOP "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," Wahl reportedly said.