- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 7, 2015

PINE BLUFF, Ark. (AP) - The Pine Bluff City Council is asking Alderman Bill Brumett to resign after he used a racial slur during an online debate.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (https://bit.ly/1DguXEy ) reports the council unanimously passed a vote of no confidence Monday. The alderman was not present at the meeting because of a family trip.

Brumett, who is white, 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.”

Alderman George Stepps, who proposed the no confidence measure on Monday, said he can no longer work with Brumett.

“I cannot trust anything that he brings to the council. I cannot, in clear conscience, believe that Brumett has any love or compassion toward African-Americans. I can no longer, in clear conscience, listen to his lies, deception or his feeble attempts to speak to the issues of fairness.”

A protest was held outside Pine Bluff City Hall before and during the vote. Protesters said that if Brumett doesn’t resign, they plan to organize a recall effort against him.

Brumett has apologized to Cunningham. In a previous statement, Brumett said “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.”

Cunningham’s mother says her son does not accept the apology.

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. He is also the council’s longest-serving member.


Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, https://www.arkansasonline.com

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