The wife of an Alabama councilman under fire for referring to a colleague as a “house n—-r” is now living in fear — and packing a pistol in case of a violent retaliation over the remarks, according to a report Friday.
Nancy Mahler Bryant, wife of Tarrant City Councilman Tommy Bryant, told TMZ the couple has received at least 400 calls to their home in recent days following his outburst Monday while gesturing toward black Councilwoman Veronica Freeman.
The angry callers have screamed and threatened Bryant and his wife, prompting the councilman to give her a pistol to protect herself while outdoors or to defend herself against a potential intruder, TMZ reported early Friday.
Bryant, who claims he was merely repeating what Mayor Wayman Newton had previously called Freeman, always wears a bulletproof vest when he leaves his home, according to the report.
But Bryant’s wife is now taking steps to protect herself and her 92-year-old mother, who lives with the couple, by staying inside as much as possible while shutting blinds to their home. Nancy Mahler Bryant is also worried that someone may try to shoot her husband if they see him inside their residence.
Tommy Bryant, for his part, said the threats were concerning, but claimed he did nothing wrong by using the racial slur while refusing to apologize for “doing what is right,” TMZ reported.
About a dozen protesters in Tarrant, meanwhile, descended upon City Hall on Thursday to demand Bryant’s resignation, AL.com reported. He has said he has no plans to step down.
“This is not isolated,” Tarrant resident Jackie Beltaine told AL.com. “He is nothing but a racist, homophobic, xenophobic bigot.”
Newton, Tarrant’s first black mayor, has denied Bryant’s claim that he previously used the racial slur to describe Freeman. The mayor watched some of Thursday’s rally, but did not speak, AL.com reported.
Demonstrators with Black Lives Matter and NAACP reps were among Thursday’s protesters.
“How long will we continue to tolerate this bigotry?” the Rev. Kenneth Dukes of Alabama’s NAACP chapter said. “He no longer deserves a right to sit on a city council. Let it be nationally known that Tommy Bryant is a racist.”
Attempts to reach Bryant on Friday were unsuccessful.
Video shows the agitated councilman during Monday’s meeting discussing social media posts allegedly made by his wife with Newton and another councilwoman when someone in the audience claimed Bryant’s wife used a racial epithet.
That led Bryant to slam his hand on a desk, saying “let’s get to the N-word,” video shows.
“Hey, do we have a house n—-r in here?” Bryant said, prompting gasps from the crowd. “Do we? Hey, do we?”
Bryant then raised his hand toward Freeman, saying: “Would she please stand up? That’s what the mayor called her, what do you think about that?”