Tarrant, Alabama city council member Tommy Bryant has come under fire from the local community after proclaiming to an unidentified Black colleague, “Do we have a house n****r in here?”
The comments came following a heated exchange where a person in the audience accused Bryant’s wife of also using the n-word on Facebook. As originally reported by The Daily Beast, the city’s changing demographics have resulted in antagonistic leaders “opposing anything Mayor Newton does.”
Bryant, 76, is the longest-serving councilman in an area that is 53.1 percent Black, uttered the offensive slur and cemented the turbulent relations he has with Mayor Wayman Newton.
Newton, who is Black and was charged with third-degree assault of former police chief Dennis Reno, commented on the accusations about Bryant’s wife. After attempting to make clear that his wife does not speak for him, he then stood up and asked, “Do we have a house n— in here?” The beef between Newton and Reno was not only physical, but political, as the two had a tense discussion over the lack of Black police officers in town.
Reno said none had been hired during his tenure because “they weren’t qualified.”
Since his resignation in January, four Black police officers have been hired by the department.
In the clip, Bryant appears to direct his attention to city council member Veronica Freeman. There is also a woman sitting close to Newton who appears to be crying into her hands before she exits the room.
The 41-year-old elected mayor then proposes a town hall meeting on racial issues that Bryant appears to have no interest in. And after being predominantly white for many years, the population of 7,000 does not seem to want to continue on with the previous status quo. “It’s like now all he’s doing is trying to oppose anything Mayor Newton is doing,” Tarrant resident Waynette Bonham said. “And Mayor Newton is trying to correct the things that had been so bad about the city of Tarrant from the previous administration — like not having Black officers.”
The Alabama Democratic Party has called for Bryant’s resignation, saying in a statement issued Tuesday, July 20, that, “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.”