© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Council member Nury Martinez speaks ahead of a City Council vote to increase the minimum wage at City Hall in Los Angeles, California September 24, 2014. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni/File Photo
By Dan Whitcomb
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – A Los Angeles city councilwoman took a leave of absence on Tuesday as outrage erupted around her and two colleagues over racist comments she heard on tape. their private conversations.
Democrat Nury Martinez, who had resigned as leader a day earlier, announced his resignation in a statement released ahead of a regularly scheduled council meeting.
“This has been one of the most difficult times in my life and I realize this is entirely my own making,” Martinez, 49, said in the statement. “At this point, I need to take a leave of absence and take some time to have an honest and sincere conversation with my family, members, and community leaders.”
Councilmembers Kevin de León and Gil Cedillo, who heard the call taped along with local labor leader Ron Herrera, issued an apology for participating in the heated conversation. but defied calls to resign.
A White House spokesman on Tuesday said US President Joe Biden believes all three should resign.
“He believes they should all resign. The language used and tolerated in that conversation is unacceptable, and it’s appalling. They should all resign,” Karine Jean- Pierre said during a briefing at the White House.
Both Cedillo and de Leon left the council meeting when protesters vehemently demanded their resignation.
On Monday night, Herrera stepped down as president of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The recorded conversation took place in October 2021 but only came to light this week after it was posted on the Reddit message board and reported by the Times.
In the tape, Martinez is heard saying that council member Mike Bonin, who is white, treats his Black son as if he were an “accessory” and compares him to “changuito”. roughly translated as “little monkey”.
Martinez also disparaged Mexicans from Oaxaca and expressed her displeasure with Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón, saying “he was with the Negro.”
Martinez was first elected to the city council in 2013 and became president in 2020.