A Tennessee judge has ordered a city official caught on video using racist slurs removed from public office, but it is not because of the man’s hate-fueled insults.
Portland, Tennessee, alderman Thomas Dillard was exposed for making racist comments twice by WSMV4. Cellphone video released by the news channel in September shows Dillard flipping off and making monkey noises at his neighbors’ biracial children.
In February, he admitted on police body camera to calling his neighbors the n-word.
A Sumner County judge ruled Dillard step down from the city council, however, because of his campaign for mayor. The city charter requires council members approved on the ballot for the position to resign. The city attorney filed the complaint in the county court on Sept. 19.
According to the reports, the city near Nashville does not have a policy that addresses racist behavior by an elected official. Dillard voted in favor of the election stipulation but told other council members he would not resign. The alderman argued at a recent meeting that he was a write-in candidate, so the rule did not apply to him.
“I’m not going anywhere,” Dillard said. “I apologize if it’s made people mad, but I’m not going anywhere.”
It is unclear as of Tuesday if Dillard has officially stepped down.
According to reports, Dillard called the police complaining about noise from his neighbors Edwin Campos and his wife Kelly, who is biracial, in late August. While the police were in front of the house, one of the Campos’ four boys recorded the alderman making monkey noises at the children.
The incident report shows Dillard had complained that his neighbors were playing barking noises from a loudspeaker. The officer gave the Camposes a verbal warning, his report says.
Kelly told the officer that Dillard had trespassed on their property. The officer returned to Dillard’s home and asked him about the trespassing allegation, to which he accused the couple of trespassing instead and said he would speak to his attorney.
The officer said as he walked back to the Campos’ home, he heard Dillard yell from his side porch.
“F———ing porch monkeys!”
The police advised Dillard that yelling racial slurs at his neighbors is considered disorderly conduct, the report says.
“You do it again, you’ll be going to jail,” the officer warns on the body-worn camera.
“Get the f———k off my property,” Dillard tells the officer. “Get out of here, dude!”
“Do not yell racial profanities,” the officer replies.
“How are you going to be a city councilman but calling out minorities monkeys and stuff?” Kelly Campos told WSMV4.
In February, Dillard boasted about calling the couple a racial slur and acknowledged that he knew the body camera was recording him. Kelly Campos reportedly called the police because Dillard threatened to kill her dogs. She was later charged with a misdemeanor for allegedly letting the dogs loose.
“I called him the n-word. I ain’t going to lie,” Dillard said in the video.
Kelly Campos said Dillard called both her and her husband, who is Mexican, the racial slur.
“He was like, y’all [n-word]. Call us the n-word twice,” she said. “I was like, did he really just say that?”
About 400 people in Portland identify as Black, reports show. The complaint shows that Dillard was appointed to fill a vacancy on the city council in December 2018. He submitted the write-in certificate for the mayoral race on Sept. 9. The election is on Nov. 9.
“It still makes me a little upset,” Campos said. “He shouldn’t be an official person if he’s going to be start calling people the n-word.”