Community pressures McKenzie to apologize for racial slurs
CLEVELAND, TN (WRCB) -- The scene outside Cleveland's Municipal Building was tense Monday afternoon as members of the community confronted District 1 Councilman Charlie McKenzie.
"Say it to everybody, I'm sorry," says one woman.
"I don't need to make anymore statements," McKenzie tells the crowd. "But Charlie we haven't heard you clearly say that you're sorry," says another.
Mckenzie is under pressure to apologize for using racial slurs on the job. He first denied the allegations, then claimed he didn't remember. That didn't sit well with his fellow councilmen.
"He remembers more than anybody on this council," Vice Mayor Avery Johnson says.
Now McKenzie is using a two letter word with big meaning, if. "I said if I said anything like that I apologize to everyone here," McKenzie says. "But you said if, so therefore you just eliminated it," replies Reverend Theresa Oglesby.
Oglesby says she isn't going anywhere anytime soon. "I'm the oldest black church in Cleveland. Price Memorial AME Zion Church on Dooley Street. Until we hear you say you're sorry we're going to come and keep sitting in your meetings," Oglesby says.
McKenzie said he would visit the church Tuesday. Channel 3 spoke with him on the phone Tuesday afternoon. He says he went by the church but no one was there. We also spoke with the church who says they never saw McKenzie.
Before the city can move forward Oglesby says the city needs to hear an honest apology. "Because then he would've taken responsibility for what he said. As long as he says I don't remember there's no responsibility," says Oglesby.
The Bradley County NAACP says it will go door to door in McKenzie's district to gain support for his resignation. McKenzie says he's not resigning.