SPRINGDALE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Outrage and calls for city leaders to resign after a Springdale council member is heard over a hot mic making what some are calling a racist statement.

An exchange between two Springdale city council members are getting a lot of heat.

“Some little Mexican lawyer, he’s a real liberal, that’s his biggest problem.”

Ricky Evans is the voice you hear speaking to Brian Powell before the start of the council meeting Tuesday. Evans was referring to his opponent for Ward 2 Position 2 Kevin Flores but Evans didn’t know the mics were live.

Ricky Evans, Ward 2, Position 2

“It’s disappointing that at the city level in city hall that one of our city leaders feels comfortable speaking this way about not just me but generalizing members of his community,” Flores said.

Flores was born in El Salvador and has been in Springdale since he was in first grade. He is an American citizen and also served in the U.S Marines Corps.

He says the comments show the need for the board to reflect the diversity of the community it serves.

“You control the preparation for the city for the next decade or two that’s what you can do at the council level and that is what I’m running on and to include ideas from the entire community,” Flores said.

Kevin Flores

But that isn’t the only comment causing outrage.

“The Chinese coronavirus, we didn’t want this. They brought it over. The Communist Chinese and I’m bold enough to say that,” said Powell during the meeting.

Jackie Tabias of Springdale was watching via Zoom and spoke out during the council meeting.

“You hear the racist comments from both Ricky Evans and Brian Powell and the first thought is they have to go,” Tabias said.

Mayor Doug Sprouse called the comments unfortunate.

“A city should not be defined by the comments of one or two people the city should be defined by the policies we implement by the people who live in the city and the way we interact with one another and help each other,” Mayor Sprouse said.

KNWA reached out to Powell for comment, but have not heard back.

Evans did issue this apology saying in part, “there’s no excuse for my actions last night, just before the Springdale city council meeting, and there are not enough words to express how truly sorry I am. It was a severe lapse in judgment and not at all a reflection of who I am or how I view Mr. Flores or the Hispanic community in Northwest Arkansas.”

“Our community needs an apology and there needs to be a broader discussion about this,” said Flores.

The meeting was live-streamed and the meeting portion is expected to be added to the city’s YouTube page sometime Wednesday.