- Associated Press - Monday, April 6, 2015

PINE BLUFF, Ark. (AP) - Some Pine Bluff residents are calling for the resignation of an alderman who misspelled a black man’s last name in a way that included a racial epithet.

Alderman Bill Brumett, who is white, told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (https://bit.ly/1CM0w7S ) he was arguing with a Pine bluff native on Facebook last month when he became agitated by the man’s misspelling of the alderman’s name. Brummet says he then intentionally misspelled J.C. Cunningham’s name but that he didn’t know Cunningham was black and the epithet was unintentional.

Brumett says he meant to spell Cunningham’s name as “Cuuningham,” but instead wrote “Cooninham.”

“After I became aware that Mr. Cunningham is an African-American, and after consideration of the implications of what I wrote, despite the fact that I never intended to make any racial statement, I decided that it would be in the best interests of all concerned for me to make a public apology to Mr. Cunningham, in writing, in the same venue as the original comment,” Brumett said.

The city’s NAACP and some residents want Brumett to resign, saying it’s unlikely the slur was accidental.

Nadeen Johnson, who is planning on joining a protest Monday, said whether the incident was a mistake is irrelevant.

“If someone doesn’t realize what they are typing, doesn’t it mean they are incompetent, especially when they type such a hurtful word as this?” Johnson said. “I just don’t understand how a grown man could do that and not realize it. It just doesn’t make sense to me.”

Cunningham hasn’t publicly commented on the exchange. His mother says he hasn’t accepted an apology from Brumett, and he does not plan to.

Pine Bluff has a population that is more than 70 percent black, and Brumett is the only white alderman on the eight-member City Council.

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