Council president accuses councilman of racial remarks

Mount Vernon City Council President Marcus Griffith told News 12 that mayoral candidate and fellow Councilman Richard Thomas made threats against him and racial remarks during a heated argument last month.



The incident took place on June 23 during a closed-door meeting regarding city repairs, which included the city clerk and corporation counsel.



"He used the F word. I won't say it on camera. He used the N word, very derogatory word," Griffith told News 12.



The outburst was not recorded, but in a committee meeting two weeks later, Thomas apologized while tape was rolling.



"Perhaps...there was a lax of judgment and I apologize for losing perspective for that moment," said Thomas in the recording.



Thomas told News 12 Friday that there are "bigger, broader issues at play."



He never admitted to the outburst, calling Griffith's claims part of a smear campaign. As for the recorded apology, he says it was to the staff.



"If they felt uncomfortable about my passion to fight for Mount Vernon, that was something I talked to the staff about," says Thomas. "With respect to the outburst, I'm not going to apologize for something that is really being exaggerated and brought out of context."



Mount Vernon Mayor Ernie Davis has asked the council to formally address Thomas' behavior.


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