Judge orders Portland city alderman, exposed for using racial slurs, to resign from city council

An alderman that was exposed for making racial slurs was asked to step down if he plans to run for mayor.
Updated: Sep. 27, 2022 at 5:54 PM CDT
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PORTLAND, Tenn. (WSMV) - A Sumner County judge ruled that alderman Thomas Dillard, who was caught on camera using racial slurs toward his neighbors, must step down from his position.

A complaint was filed this month to force alderman Dillard to be removed from Portland’s city council.

The complaint and subsequent ruling, however, has nothing to do with Dillard’s racist comments.

WSMV’s investigations exposed that Dillard used racial slurs in two separate incidents towards his biracial neighbors and their children.

The city of Portland then issued a statement explaining why they can’t remove him based on his racist statements.

But on Sept. 19, Portland city attorney John Bradley filed a complaint with a Sumner County judge stating that Dillard should step down from the council because he is violating the city charter with his bid for mayor.

Dillard is running as a certified write-in candidate for mayor, and the city’s charter reads that if an alderman runs for mayor, he or she must step down from the council.

Video from the Sept. 12 meeting of the council shows that Bradley informed the board about his opinion that Dillard should step down based on the charter.

At on point, a councilman reminds Dillard that he, himself, voted to approve the charter and the stipulation that a council member running for mayor should step down.

“I voted, uh, I don’t know what to tell you,” Dillard responded. “I’m not resigning. I don’t care to have any more conversation about it.”

At the meeting, Dillard said that he is a write-in candidate and that the charter doesn’t apply to him.

Calling it a loophole, Dillard said he understood that people are unhappy with him.

“I’m not going anywhere,” Dillard said. “I apologize if it’s made people mad, but I’m not going anywhere.”

Dillard did ultimately leave the meeting that night before the council adjourned. It was the same night WSMV4 Investigates aired the latest investigation into his racial slurs.

“I want to get out of here so I can go watch the news,” Dillard said before he left.

A hearing on the complaint is set for Friday at 9 a.m. in Gallatin. WSMV4 Investigates will be there and will report on the outcome of the hearing.

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