CAROLLTON, Ga. - A Carrollton City Council member went public for the first time Monday night about a controversial Facebook comment some deemed as racist.
At the City Council meeting Gerald Byrd, also the mayor pro tem, spoke of righting social injustices and racism he personally experienced but offered no apology.
“The cops were called on me when we were celebrating my mother’s birthday at my house with her siblings,” said Byrd from his seat at the council.
It was part of his response to push back from a Facebook post showing a native American against a black man with the caption the genocide of one race, the enslavement of another followed by Byrd’s response "Both people in the photo are the same. White man has and is destroying the world."
It’s a statement which many saw as racist, including Barry Harwell.
“I do think racism will never really end as long as we’re entitled to offer up our personal opinion,” Harwell said from the podium at the council meeting.
“I don’t think that’s a racist comment at all. You know when I think of my position here at city hall everyday it seems I’m dealing with some sort of issue of racial discrimination,” Byrd said.
The mayor pro tem operates a nonprofit – the downtown based Institute of Imagination – which a Carrollton businessman is asking others to boycott with him.
“He’s making disparaging remarks regarding an entire race of people of people and such racism in our community is quite frankly disgusting,” Bobby Gaines said.
Byrd’s Facebook post has many in Carrollton talking but he asked FOX 5 News not to show the post which led to at least one call for his resignation.
“Asking you to resign Mr Byrd would be futile. But I ask you to consider it,” said Harwell.
Byrd said the people who matter are the ones who voted him into office which does not include Harwell.
“It’s not about me it’s more about disenfranchised people the poor and their struggles every single day,” he said.