Pasadena mayor to councilman: 'You better speak up, boy'

PASADENA, Texas (KTRK) -- The mayor of Pasadena is under fire after making a controversial remark to a Hispanic councilman.

Mayor Johnny Isbell, who is white, referred to Councilman Cody Ray Wheeler as a "boy." During Monday's council meeting, Wheeler voiced his concerns about a pending vote.

"I haven't had the opportunity to speak yet," Wheeler said.

"Well, you better speak up, boy," Isbell responded.

"Excuse me?" Wheeler said.

"Excuse you?" Isbell said.

"That's very offensive, I'm a council member of the city," Wheeler responded. "Don't call me a boy."

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Pasadena mayor under fire after making a controversial remark to a Hispanic councilman.

"Well you better act like it," Isbell answered.

In a Facebook post, Wheeler called out the mayor.

"The mayor is the ambassador of the city and should set the example for professionalism and civility. By referring to members of council as 'boy' he undermines council members, citizens and himself," he wrote.

In a statement to ABC13, Isbell apologized for his comments directed at Wheeler. Read the full statement below:

"I apologize to Councilman Wheeler for my comment during yesterday's City Council meeting. I agree that the term could be construed as inappropriate and that City Council members should be addressed more respectfully.

What I don't agree with is those who have called the comment "racist." There was no racial component in my mind whatsoever. Having spent years involved in sports and coaching and in the military, saying "hurry up, boy" is simply something that you might say to expedite an action. It's a term I have used with friends and with family. I was not trying to disparage anyone in any way.

Again, I apologize to Councilman Wheeler and anyone else who my comment may have offended."

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