Los Angeles City Council member Nury Martinez has resigned as chairman after making racist comments about a councilman and his black children.
“I take responsibility for what I say and there is no excuse for these comments,” Martinez said in a statement. “I’m very sorry.”
Martinez’s resignation from the presidency is effective immediately, but she remains a member of the council, the statement said.
The remarks are part of leaked audio posted anonymously on Reddit and obtained by The Los Angeles Times. The audio details a conversation between Martinez, Assemblymen Jill Zedillo and Kevin De Leon and Los Angeles County Federation of Labor President Ron Herrera, the newspaper reported.
Much of the conversation focused on the map proposed by the city’s redistricting committee and councillors’ grievances with them, and the need to “ensure that large Latino districts don’t lose economic assets” in the once-in-a-decade process, according to The Times ” report.
Council members then discussed council member Mike Bonin, a white man. In leaked audio clips released by The Times, Martinez can be heard recounting a conversation and saying “Bonin thinks he’s a fucking black man.”
Martinez said Bonin appeared on Martin Luther King Jr.’s float with his son, The Times reported. March, he “treated his young black son as an accessory”. The boy is 8 years old, according to his father’s Facebook post.
The Times reported that Martinez also spoke of Bonin’s child, “Parece changuito” or “he’s like a monkey.”
In the leaked audio, Martinez can be heard talking about Bonin’s son allegedly misbehaving during the parade, hanging from their float railing, saying “this kid is going to tip us over.”
“They raised him to be a white kid,” Martinez said in audio released by The Times. “I was like, this kid needs to be beat. Let me take him around the corner and I’ll bring him back.”
The audio is part of a conversation in October 2021, The Times reported. CNN was unable to verify the recording.
It surfaced weeks before the Nov. 8 election that will decide Los Angeles’ next mayor and several city council seats. It is unclear who recorded the audio.
“The context of this conversation was concerns about the redistricting process and the potential negative impact it could have on communities of color. My work speaks for itself. I have been working hard to lead the city through its most difficult times, ‘” Martinez said in a statement to CNN before her resignation.
Bonin and his husband, Sean Arian, had asked the city council to remove Martinez from her role as council president, saying she needed to resign.
“We are shocked, outraged and absolutely disgusted that Nury Martinez attacked our son with a horribly racist slur and spoke of her desire to physically harm him. It’s vile, hateful and utterly disgraceful,” the couple said. said in a joint statement.
Bonin and Arian added that they were “equally angry and disgusted by the ugly racist comments made by Kevin de León and Ron Herrera about our son, and they too should resign and tacitly accept these comments from Gil Cedillo.”
The NAACP California/Hawaii State Conference and the organization’s Los Angeles chapter called for the resignation of all board members involved in the conversation and asked the city to investigate “how much racial hatred influences hiring and other decisions by the City Council,” They said in a joint statement.
“We will not sit back and allow our elected representatives to engage in these disgusting acts of racism,” said Latricia Mitchell, president of the Los Angeles chapter of the NAACP.
Council member Nithya Raman, who was also mentioned in the leaked audio, issued a statement to CNN on Sunday, also calling for his resignation, The Times reported.
“Racist, homophobic and utterly cruel rhetoric like this is disqualifying from being elected to office in Los Angeles. The people who made them should resign. If they don’t, I will vote to remove them from council leadership in the first place. ,” Raman said.
In a statement Sunday, Zedillo called comments about Bonin’s son “completely unacceptable.”
“I want to start by apologizing. While I was not involved in the conversation in question, I was sometimes present at this meeting last year,” Zedillo said. “When others use pejorative or racially divisive language, my instinct is to hold them accountable. Obviously, I should intervene. I have failed to hold others and myself to the highest standards. Hurt, harmful post about my colleague’s son The rhetoric is simply unacceptable. We choose public life, but our families should never be restrained and never get involved in political discussions.”
Herrera did not respond to CNN’s request for comment, but the AFL-CIO, the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, tweeted an apology to Bonin and his family, as well as members of the Black and Oaxaca community.
“There was no reason and no excuse for the vile remarks made in that room. Period,” the apology said. “And I didn’t stand up to stop them, I’m going to have to bear the burden of the cross going forward.”
In a statement to CNN on Sunday, De Leon said: “That day, I fell short of the expectations we set for our leaders – I would hold myself to a higher standard.
“Completely inappropriate comments made in the context of this meeting; I regret to privately condone or even facilitate certain insensitive comments about a colleague and his family. I have personally contacted that colleague,” De Leon Say.
Despite the apology, Bonin and Arian pointed to what they called a concerted effort to weaken black political representation in Los Angeles.
“The conversation revealed layers of contempt for the people of Los Angeles and a cynical, ugly desire to divide the city rather than serve it,” Bonin and Arian said in the statement.
In a statement announcing his resignation, Martinez apologized to Bonin and his family.
“As a mother, I know more, and I’m sorry. I’m really ashamed. I know this is the result of my own actions. I’m sorry to your family for putting you through this,” Martinez said.
“As someone who believes deeply in empowering communities of color, I acknowledge that my comments undermine that goal,” the statement said. “Going forward, reconciliation will be my top priority.”
Martinez represents the city’s Sixth District, which includes Hollywood, Panorama City and other parts of the San Fernando Valley.