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Racial slurs fly at city council meeting

3 years 2 weeks 6 days ago June 05, 2014 Jun 5, 2014 Thursday, June 05 2014 June 05, 2014 7:49 AM in News
Source: WBRZ
By: Brittany Weiss

AMITE - Tuesday evening's council meeting in Amite included racial slurs and finger pointing by Councilman Jonathan Foster.

In an audio clip recorded by our news partner in Tangipahoa Parish, ActionNews17.com, Councilman Foster uses a racial slur to describe his fellow black council members, Emanuel Zanders and Arthur Leonard.

Foster, who for months has refused to sit with the other city council members during meetings and instead sits in the audience, accused the council and Mayor Buddy Bel of leaving him out of official city business and not posting his items to the agenda. He also said he never receives meeting agendas in advance.

But, ActionNews17.com reported City Clerk Mary Lou Lee is confused about the issue since all other council members receive meeting agendas prior to council meetings. 

Foster was recorded saying, "I'm gonna tell ya, cause you got two Negroes right here ... (inaudible)... getting everything they want."

But, the interaction didn't end there.  As the conversation continues, Councilman Leonard asks Foster if he's referring to him in a racist manner, even using a expletive when asking the quetsion. 

Foster replied, "You're a [racial slur], then!"

Foster was asked to leave following the incident, but not before Leonard announced he needed to leave and walked out of the room.

"It's not appropriate," Foster told WBRZ News 2.  "But he's the one who brought it up, you know what I mean? And I didn't back away from it."

Councilman Leonard did not want to comment about the interaction, but Councilman Zanders did.

"I'm here for the people," said Zanders, "I mean, he can call me whatever he wants to call me."

Mayor Bel says he wasn't shocked or angry about the interaction.

"I wasn't shocked because I heard it before," said Bel. "Some others, you know, your viewers may be shocked this goes on, but myself and four city council members and administration have endured this for the best part of 12 months now."

Zanders says in order for the city to move forward, changes need to be made.

"The problem needs to be addressed. If he don't want to be a part of it, he needs to give up his seat as a councilman so the city can continue to move on."

The next council meeting is in three weeks.

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