A Rapid City alderman's future is in question after some controversial comments. Bill Clayton allegedly made threatening comments about a colleague and apologized after making racially charged statements to an African American TV reporter. Now many citizens believe Clayton should be held accountable.
The outrage comes after a council report on Clayton was made public two weeks. Before the report was released, the city council decided not to censure him. That's not sitting well with some community members who say that's the same as the council endorsing Clayton's comments.
"You've had this discussion for five months behind closed doors; now it's our turn," former city council member Malcom Chapman said.
"I would respectfully request that he resign from the city council so that he can be replaced by an individual who truly does care about the quality of life for all citizens of Rapid City without prejudice regarding their ethnicity," Rapid City resident Linda Schilling said.
Four city council members, including council president Bonny Petersen, asked Clayton to step down at Monday night's meeting. He refused.
"We just wanted people to know that we're not supporting what has happened, that it's outrageous," Petersen said.
The lack of official action from the council is a sore spot for many.
"No discussion, no collective council action about something that's racist. I'm offended, I'm embarrassed, and I'm ashamed. Not for me and not for our community, but for you, as a city council. You sit back as a tail light when you should be a head light shining the way for how this community moves forward," Chapman said.
It's frustration that's shared by Petersen, who says that from the beginning of the investigation, it was clear that no action would be taken.
"Even if there had been nine of us, we still needed seven votes. And with three people supporting Mr. Clayton, we never under any circumstance had the votes to go forward," Petersen said.
Regardless, the council president says it's time for the community to try and get past this.
"Something is not right. It's very disgusting but the best thing for the citizens is for us to move forward," Petersen said.
There is an effort underway to recall Clayton, which would require signatures from at least 15 percent of registered Rapid City voters. If that happens, Clayton would face another election against possible opponents. In his last election, Clayton ran unopposed.