LUTHER, Okla. – Luther voters are calling for a town trustee, Greg Atkinson, to resign after he admitted to making racist remarks about his colleagues.
“I think it’s absolutely deplorable,” said David Roby.
NAACP’S Local President Ronland Henry was furious when he found out.
“His comment was, ‘We got an n-word Mayor. We have an n-word Police Chief. We have an n-word Planning Commision. How many n words are we going to have here?’,” said Henry.
Inside the local diner is where people here say Atkinson made the comments. They say it happened three weeks ago.
On Tuesday at the town hall meeting, the issue exploded. You can hear Atkinson admit to the slurs on the official recording NewsChannel 4 obtained through an open records request.
“It doesn’t matter what caused me to make a racial comment, it’s unacceptable,” said Atkinson during the meeting.
A citizen spoke up saying, “And do you think an apology should take care of that? I mean, do you honestly think that though? Because when you came to my house and asked my husband and our family for our vote, we had no idea that you was a racist. When you were elected to this seat you were elected to provide, take care of all people of all colors.”
The NAACP’S Henry stepped in at that point, saying, “Being a council member, leading our community, we are a very diversified community. For you to say that, a racial slur, and address your constituents is way out of line and we ask for your resignation.”
Atkinson refused to resign.
He said, “All I can do is sit here and apologize for my actions.”
Henry replied during the meeting saying, “You know, next week, the same actions with a different crowd is still the same thing.”
Atkinson said, “And you’re absolutely right, and it’s a struggle.”
Henry says Atkinson spoke about those struggles in a phone conversation.
“He said that’s the way I grew up. I’m fighting these demons,” said Henry.
NewsChannel 4 tried to speak with Atkinson, but he would not return messages.
As for the people he made his comments about, like Mayor Cecilia Taft, she had this to say in the meeting:
“For me to hear that you feel that way about me or that you would say that… We no longer want to deal with the racism. It’s (exasperated)… This is a town of all colors,” Mayor Taft says.
Voters like Roby want one thing, “I think the man should resign. I think he should get out because there’s no room for racism in this town. He should go.”
The NAACP plans to meet to go over its options going forward.