Racist comments cause LA council president to resign


The president of the Los Angeles City Council resigned Monday after she was heard making racist comments and other crude remarks in an audio recording of conversations with Latino leaders. another leak.

Council President Nury Martinez issued an apology and expressed shame.

“Ultimately, apologies are not my most important issue; those will be the actions I take from this day forward. I hope that you will give me a chance to make amends,” she said. said in a statement. “Therefore, effective immediately, I will step down as President of the Los Angeles City Council.”

The statement did not say she would resign her council seat. There was no immediate response to a call and email sent to her office.

Martinez said in recorded conversation that white Councilman Mike Bonin treated his young black son as if he were an “accessory” and described the son behaving like “Parece changuito,” or “like a monkey,” the Los Angeles Times reported Sunday.

Martinez also called Bonin a “bitch” and at another point mocked the Oaxacans, the Times reported.

“I see a lot of little dark people,” says Martinez, “when referring to a particular area of ​​the Hispanic Koreatown neighborhood.

“I was like, I don’t know where these people come from, I don’t know what village they came from, how did they get here,” Martinez said, adding “Tan feos” — “They’re ugly.”

The content of the recording rocked the political establishment just weeks before the mayoral election and several council seats.

Bonin and his husband, Sean Arian, are part of a growing chorus calling for the resignation of Martinez and the two other board members involved.

They said: “The entire conversation was taped…repeated and vulgar expression of anti-Black sentiment, and a concerted effort to undermine Black political representation in the region. Los Angeles”.

Also asking for the resignations of council members are labor leaders, Indigenous groups, state Democrats, US Senator Alex Padilla, US Representative Adam B. Schiff and the Mayor of Los Angeles Eric Garcetti.

Garcetti said in a statement: “Bigotry, violence and division often live in places unseen and unheard of, but has dire consequences for the lives of fellow Angelenos. ours when they don’t confront and infect our public and private lives.”

The conversation was recorded in October 2021, and others present were Councilmembers Gil Cedillo and Kevin de Leon and Los Angeles County Federation of Labor President Ron Herrera, the Times reported. The overall discussion was about frustration with redistricting maps made by a city committee.

The Times reports that the roughly hour-long audio clip that was posted on Reddit by one user has now been suspended, and it’s unclear who recorded the audio and if anyone else was present at the meeting.

Martinez initially issued an apology after the Times article appeared online.

“In a moment of intense frustration and anger, I let things go my best and I take responsibility for these comments. For that, I apologize,” she said.

“The background of this conversation was concern about redistricting and concerns about the potential negative impact it could have on communities of color,” she said. “My work speaks for itself. I have worked hard to lead this city through the most difficult time.”

Martinez, whose website has the county’s website, describes her as “a glass-ceiling-shattering leader who delivers profound life experiences as the proud daughter of working-class immigrants.” ,” was elected to the board in 2013 and became the council’s first Latina president in 2020.

De Leon, a former state legislator, at one point in the conversation referred to Bonin as the “fourth black member” of the assembly.

“Mike Bonin would never sneak about Latinos. He would never say a word about us,” he said.

In the segment where Martinez likens Bonin’s son to an “accessory,” De Leon appeared to compare the way Bonin handled the child to “when Nury carries her Goyard bag or a Louis Vuitton bag.”

“Su negrito, like on a side,” Martinez replied.

Bonin’s son appeared in a body of conversation in which Martinez suggested the child misbehave while they were riding on a float during the Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade, the Times reported. know.

“They’re raising him like a white kid,” Martinez said. “I was thinking, this kid needs to be beaten. Let me take him around the corner and then I’ll bring him back.”

De Leon said in a statement that the comments were inappropriate.

“I regret having expressed my condolences and even contributed to some of the insensitive comments made about a colleague and his family in private,” he said. “I’ve reached out to that colleague personally.”

Cedillo issued a statement apologizing Monday.

“Although I was not involved in the conversation in question, I was present at this meeting sometime last year,” he said. “My instinct is to hold others accountable when they use offensive or racist language. Obviously, I should intervene.”

Herrera, the labor official, said in an apology that “there was no reason for the despicable remarks to be made in that room” and that he “didn’t step up to stop them,” the Times reported. news.

In their statement, Bonin and her husband said Martinez was unfit for public office.

“No child should be subjected to such racist, malicious and dehumanizing comments, especially from a public official. It is heartbreaking to know that one day, he will read the comments. this,” they said.

The three Black members of the panel released a joint statement saying it was “a very dark day in LA politics for African Americans, the LGBTQ+ community, Indigenous peoples and Angelenos, who are all in the community.” put their trust in their local government.”

Council members Curren Price, Heather Hutt and Marqueece Harris-Dawson said one facade had collapsed.

They said: “This is 2022 and we will not turn a blind eye to the prejudice, discrimination and blatant racism that is on full display for the world to see.

Shockwaves have stirred up the mayoral race.

Martinez endorsed US Representative Karen Bass, who is seeking to become the first Black woman to lead the nation’s second most populous city.

“Let me be clear about what was on those tapes: horrible, anti-black racism,” Bass said in a statement.

“Everybody in the room has to be held accountable and I’ve spent the day talking to Black and Latino leaders about how to make sure this doesn’t tear our city apart,” Bass added.

Her rival, billionaire developer Rick Caruso, said it was a “heartbreaking day for our proud, diverse city” and he called for all three involved to resign from the council. .

“Now, we must unite and strongly reject what has been said,” Caruso said in a statement.


Associated Press journalist Christopher Weber in Los Angeles contributed to this report.


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