Selma mayor uses the term lynching

January 10, 2008 5:33:26 PM PST
Selma's town mayor caught on tape, saying controversial statements at a town meeting.

Tony Tetterton's camera was rolling Tuesday evening when Selma Mayor Charles Hester made a controversial comment.

"Big crowds and we have one here tonight. Maybe one day we'll have a lynching and we won't have to worry about that anymore," Hester said.

"He seemed to be upset there were so many people there. He mentioned that one person in particular, without naming them, was stirring up trouble, and he thought there should be a lynching to take care of the problem," Tetterton explained.

Tetterton admits he's a vocal opponent of the proposed ethanol plant and he voiced his opposition to the lynching comment right away.

"I protest that, that was very inappropriate," he said.

Tetterton also demanded and received an apology.

"I apologize to all of you," Hester said.

Though Tetterton thinks the remark was wrong, he doesn't think it was racist.

"It was not meant in those contexts," Tetterton said. "He just thinks I'm a trouble maker and he'd like me to be gone."

However, residents hearing the statement do not agree.

"I don't think that was the ideal thing to say to be honest with you. Not in a place like that anyway. In a town like this it's not going to work that way. Because to me that's nothing but racial," resident Tommy Melvin said. "It's bad for a man in his position to say that. They should get him out of there."

The town mayor explains it was an accident.

"It's just one of those things that slipped out of me," Hester said. "Nothing was meant by it and I apologized for it profusely at the meeting."

The mayor says he intends to apologize again at the next public meeting.


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