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Williams Apologizes to Lee for "Cotton Field" Comment | News

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Williams Apologizes to Lee for "Cotton Field" Comment
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WARNER ROBINS, Ga. --   Two Warner Robins City Council members, at odds over a comment about a "cotton field," shook hands Monday night.

John Williams publicly apologized to Daron Lee for the exchange that happened two weeks ago during a pre-council meeting.

Lee said he forgives Williams but can't forget the remark.

Speaking to the audience and Lee, Williams said, "Mr. Lee, I apologize for interrupting you. I apologize to America and the people of Warner Robins for my part in it. Nothing racial intended."

Williams told Lee he was "sorry" for a comment he made two weeks ago. During that exchange at the last council meeting, Lee told Williams he wasn't in a "cotton field."

Williams replied, "You should be."

Williams said Monday night, "I'm sorry for it, and I apologize." Then he reached out to shake Lee's hand.

Lee accepted the gesture, but said the event points to bigger problem of racism in Warner Robins. Lee said, "There are some things we need to work on here. There are some pressing things. Is racism dead in Warner Robins? No, it's not."

Williams said after the meeting, "It's not about race in this city. It's about getting along and working together for the betterment of the community. Both of our comments were out-of-line. For my part, I'm really sorry. I apologize, but it was not racial."

Lee said he can work with Williams as a city council member, but the comment damaged their relationship. He said, "Do I trust him? No, I don't. Is what he said forgiven? I'm going to forgive you as a Christian, but I can't forget, because he's done it before."

Mayor Chuck Shaheen also weighed-in, saying forgiveness could heal the councilmen's' friendship. Shaheen said, "It just shows it was a slight misunderstanding, but offered in the hand of fellowship, always goes a long way."

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Council also talked about an ordinance to allow Warner Robins bars and restaurants to sell alcohol past midnight on Saturday nights.

Right now, city code requires them to stop selling at 12:00 a.m., but they stay open for business until 2:00 a.m.

Several local bar and restaurant owners said changing the ordinance would help their business on Saturday nights.

A Baptist preacher spoke out against it, saying it could lead to more drinking and driving.

Council votes on the issue in two weeks.

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