LOUDON COUNTY, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Racial slurs and death threats from a Loudon City council member. The comments were recorded during a 911 call.
On the recording, Johnny James uses a racial slur and threatens to kill a man. He told Local 8 News he is not prejudiced and has friends of all races. The incident happened earlier this month and you may find it offensive.
"If you don't get 941 down here on Bright Road, you're going to have one deceased black ****** down here," Loudon City Councilman Johnny James said on a recorded 911 call.
James also owns a wrecker service.
According to the police report, James called 911 because a man wouldn't pay what he owed. A 911 operator asked if James had any weapons in his car.
James says, "No, I don't need a weapon to beat him to death with."
The report says when James approached the man's truck, he kicked James in the face. That's when the man began fighting. One with a shovel, and the other a broom stick. People who live and work in Loudon had different reactions to the recording.
Rex Mingie with Mulberry Street Barber Shop says, "I think people say things sometimes out of fear that sometimes they wouldn't normally say. Perhaps they should have more sense than to say that on 911 which is going to be recorded."
One woman said, "He's not going to serve all the people properly if he is racist. He's going to be one sided."
Jasmine Holsopple says, "Some people are still like that in their own ways. Some people haven't grown up, I guess."
Kearstin Holsopple says, "As an elected official, that wasn't very professional. To me that does show a racist side."
James says, "It's probably not the proper way to act as a city official, but I wasn't acting as a city official. I was acting as a guy that owns a body shop. I had three people helping me and I had to pay them."
Local 8 News met with James and asked him about the racial slurs and death threats.
He said, "I regret it. I wish it never happened, but there's nothing I can do about it. I cant change what the past is. He kept agitating me until he pushed me to the limit. He pushed me further than I want to be pushed."
James says if people don't like it, they can take share their opinion in the polls next election day. We contacted the other man involved. He was driving his truck in New York, and he couldn't talk. Neither man was charged.
We spoke to the mayor of Loudon off camera. He said the incident was a business matter, not a city matter and there's no need to take action.