Tarrant city councilor escorted from meeting after ‘pig’ comments, telling mayor to shut his mouth

Local News
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December 25 2021 12:00 am

TARRANT, Ala. (WIAT) — Tarrant City Councilman Tommy Bryant was escorted from a city council meeting by law enforcement Monday evening following comments he made comparing the city clerk to a pig and telling the mayor to “shut [his] mouth.”

This is not Bryant’s first controversy. The city councilor has faced calls for his resignation, including by Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth, since he used a racial slur in a meeting in July. Bryant, a white man, has said he was only repeating something Mayor Wayman Newton had said previously.

The tension Monday evening began when Bryant claimed he hadn’t been notified about an earlier, specially called meeting of the city council.

Mayor Newton said council members had been notified of the schedule change via text message.

The clerk also explained that she had spoken with Bryant before the meeting.

“You were notified,” she said.

“No. You screwed that all up,” he told her. “Get your story straight. You’re new. Don’t be a puppet for the mayor.”

“I am not a puppet,” the clerk responded.

Bryant then offered a metaphor, still looking at the clerk, who was seated directly in front of the councilors.

“You know what they say?” Bryant began. “When a smart man and a pig argue, they both get the stuff all over them.”

Many in the room reacted audibly, but Bryant continued.

“But only the pig enjoys it,” he finished.

“You’re out of order,” the mayor interrupted.

Bryant responded by turning to the mayor.

“Mr. Mayor,” he said. “Shut your mouth.”

Mayor Newton then asked police to remove Bryant. Chief of Police Wendell Major and a uniformed officer approached the councilor.”

“Don’t touch me,” Bryant said as they approached. “I’ll have both of y’all put in jail.”

“The chair has declared you out of order,” Chief Major can be heard telling Bryant. “I would like for you to leave on your own.”

Major tells Bryant if he does not leave the council chamber, he would be removed.

“If you resist that,” he said, “we will arrest you. This is not the place to make the argument.”

Bryant told the chief that the mayor, not he, “is out of order.”

“I don’t question the chair,” the chief said. “The chair makes a decision. When you disagree, you take legal action. That’s how law and order works.”

Bryant, defiant, shuffled his papers before his last verbal attack.

“Like I said, the pig enjoys it.”

Bryant then rose and was escorted out of the council chamber.

“It really is time” for him to resign, one resident said later in the council meeting, the clerk still sitting in view. “He called her a pig. Why’d he do that?”

“I don’t understand how he’s still here.” another resident said.

For his part, Bryant said he did not compare the city clerk to a pig. He told CBS 42 he did nothing wrong and shouldn’t have been removed from the council meeting.

“I didn’t call anybody a pig,” he said. “Good gosh, that’s stupid. I can’t believe someone would even think that I would call somebody a pig.”

Bryant said all of his issues have stemmed from one problem: “The mayor doesn’t like me.”

Bryant has filed charges against the mayor for allegedly making sexual comments about his wife, a claim the mayor has denied.

Bryant also said the mayor was to blame for the controversy around his use of a racial slur, saying he was only repeating something the city’s leader had said earlier.

When asked whether he has ever used a racial slur in a derogatory manner, Bryant evaded the question.

“We’re not going to talk about that,” he said.

Bryant said he has no plans to resign.

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