Whoa. This is awful.
Councilman John Thomas “Tommy” Bryant, a white politician in Alabama, has been arrested after punching Tarrant Mayor Wayman Newton, who is Black, after a heated conversation! This after another instance of alleged racism, too. SMH.
According to footage released by the Tarrant Police Department, on Monday night, Tommy was standing in the City Hall parking lot near a pick-up truck speaking with Tarrant Police Chief Wendell Major after a tense meeting inside. During the meeting, Bryant reportedly urged Mayor Newton to step down as they argued over several topics. In the just-released security camera video, Wayman can be seen approaching Tommy. They engage in a brief discussion before the councilman punches Wayman so hard, he falls to his knees before getting back up and jumping around. Holy s**t!
Check out the violent moment if you wish (below).
You can see a wider angle of the incident here:
There was no audio in the footage, so it’s unclear what they were discussing at the time, but it likely had to do with their meeting just moments earlier. Not only does the video prove what happened, but several witnesses saw the shocking moment go down. The chief immediately put Tommy’s hands behind his back to arrest him on the scene. Speaking to ABC 30/40 News, Wendell recalled:
“I turned around to have the mayor approach me after I was having a discussion with the councilman, the mayor approached. The councilman told me, the mayor wants to see me, I turned around, talked to him. The two exchanged words then the next thing I know the councilman struck the mayor.”
Following the incident, Wayman took to Instagram to explain what happened, writing:
“Tonight I was assaulted by Council Member Tommy Bryant for simply being a voice for the people I was elected to serve. I stand steadfast in my purpose and desire to move the City of Tarrant forward.”
So horrific… Bryant’s already been accused of racism in the past, such as last year when he allegedly referred to Councilwoman Veronica Freeman as a “house n*****” during another public meeting. WTF.
According to the police department’s press release, Tommy was initially charged with harassment, but the charge was upgraded to third-degree assault. He was booked into the Jefferson County Jail at around 10 p.m. on Monday. He was later released almost two hours later on a $1,000 bond.
He posed for his initial mug shot in a black suit and white dress shirt, and we have to say, he didn’t look too distraught about his alleged actions either (as seen above). Sigh. If convicted, the councilman is looking at a maximum punishment of up to one year in jail and a fine as high as $6,000.
To learn more about civil rights issues, check out https://www.splcenter.org/.