Tarrant City councilman uses N-word during meeting, says he was only quoting the mayor

Mayor responded Thursday
Published: Jul. 21, 2021 at 7:11 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 22, 2021 at 4:32 PM CDT
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TARRANT, Ala. (WBRC) - A Tarrant City councilman is under fire tonight after using a racial slur during a council meeting Monday night.

The video has now gone viral, and some are calling for his resignation.

Councilman John Bryant, better known by many as Tommy Bryant, said he used the N-word during the city council meeting to demonstrate the type of language Mayor Wayman Newton uses regularly.

Bryant saying he’s not a racist and was only repeating what the mayor said.

The exchange in question appears to begin with Councilman Bryant and Mayor Newton discussing posts on social media made by Bryant’s wife.

“Bryant: This was about me and not my wife and now the subject has changed.

Newton: Your wife interjects…your wife puts herself in politics by posting things on Facebook and she attributes it to you.”

More words were exchanged between the mayor, Bryant, and another councilwoman, when someone from the audience yelled out “…and one time she used the N-word.”

That’s when Bryant, slamming his hands against the desk, rising from his seat, and gesturing to Councilwoman Veronica Freeman, Bryant asks…

“The n-word…let’s get to the n-word. Do we have a house [expletive] in here?”

Gasps could be heard following Bryant’s comment.

He said that’s what the mayor called Councilwoman Freeman.

Minutes later, Freeman could be heard crying and later left the meeting visibly upset.

Bryant says the mayor used these words during a separate incident and said his own use of the N-word on Monday was instigated by the audience member.

“There’ve been no repercussions for what the mayor said. No one has held him to task for this and I felt it was time someone knew what was going on with the mayor,” Bryant said. “And that’s the reason I did what I did and I’m hoping people out in the audience will realize that he is the one who said these words,” Bryant explained.

Bryant said he used the opportunity to call out the mayor.

“I do not regret saying it if it will get the attention of everyone in the United States as to what kind of mayor we have. If it takes that to get their attention, I’m glad I said it,” Bryant said.

Bryant said he has no plans of stepping down from his position.

When asked if diversity or racial sensitivity was needed in Tarrant, Bryant said it’s the mayor who needs the training, not the city council.

UPDATE: Tarrant Mayor Wayman Newton responded to the report Thursday. Newton said he did not call Freeman a name. He said he also believes Bryant and Freeman have worked against his proposals since he was elected mayor. He said Bryant wants to run for mayor and Freeman is suing the city for money.

Here is his full response:

We also reached out to City Hall to get a comment from Councilwoman Veronica Freeman, but a phone number was not provided.

Bryant said Freeman’s lawyer has advised her not to speak on the matter at this time.

Thursday Black Lives Matter protestors gathered at Tarrant City Hall saying anyone who uses the “n-word” needs to go.

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