Los Angeles councilwoman resigns over racist comments 4:48
(WABNEWS) — Los Angeles City Council President Nury Martinez has resigned after audio leaked of her making racist comments toward a council member and her black son.
Martinez had previously apologized:RELATED
“In a moment of intense frustration and anger, I let the situation overwhelm me and I take responsibility for these comments. I’m sorry for what happened,” Martinez said in a statement to WABNEWS.
The comments were part of leaked audio that was posted anonymously on Reddit and obtained by the newspaper. Los Angeles Times. According to the newspaper, the audio details a conversation between Martínez, Councilmen Gil Cedillo and Kevin de León and the president of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, Ron Herrera.
Much of the conversation focused on the city’s redistricting commission’s proposed maps and councilmembers’ frustration with them, as well as the need to “ensure that majority-Latino districts don’t lose economic assets” in the process. which is unprecedented in 10 years, according to the newspaper.
The councilmen then spoke about Councilman Mike Bonin, a white male. In leaked audio clips published by The Los Angeles Times, Martinez is heard recounting a conversation, saying, “Bonin thinks he’s a black ****.”
According to the newspaper, Martinez says Bonin appeared with her son on a float in a Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade and “handled her young black son like he was a prop.”
The Los Angeles Times reported that Martinez also said of Bonin’s son, “he looks like a little monkey,” or “He’s like a monkey.”
In the leaked audio, Martinez can also be heard talking about Bonin’s son’s alleged misbehavior during the parade.
“They are raising him as a white child,” Martínez said in the audio published by The Times. “I thought, this kid needs a beating. Let me take it around the corner and then I’ll bring it back.”
The audio, according to the newspaper, was part of a conversation that took place in October 2021. WABNEWS has not been able to verify the audio recording.
The audio comes just weeks before the November 8 election that will decide the next mayor of Los Angeles and several seats on the city council. It is unclear who recorded the audio.
“The context for this conversation was concern about the redistricting process and concern about the potential negative impact it could have on communities of color. My work speaks for itself. I have worked hard to guide this city through its most difficult time,” Martinez said in his statement to WABNEWS.
Bonin and her husband, Sean Arian, are now asking the City Council to remove Martinez as council president and say she should step down.
“We are shocked, angry and absolutely disgusted that Nury Martinez attacked our son with horrific racist slurs and spoke about wanting to physically harm him. He is vile, abominable and completely disgraceful,” the couple said in a joint statement.
Our family statement about today’s ugly and hateful news. pic.twitter.com/0fPPXwsS5B
— Mike Bonin (@mikebonin) October 9, 2022
Bonin and Arian added that they are “equally angry and upset by the ugly racist comments about our son by Kevin de León and Ron Herrera, who should also resign from their positions, and Gil Cedillo’s tacit acceptance of those comments.”
Councilwoman Nithya Raman, who, according to the Los Angeles Times, was also referenced in the leaked audio, issued a statement to WABNEWS on Sunday also calling for resignations.
“Racist, homophobic and deeply cruel statements like these disqualify you for elected office in Los Angeles. The people who made them should quit. If they don’t, I will vote to remove them from Council leadership at the earliest opportunity,” Raman said.
In a statement Sunday, Cedillo called the comments about Bonin’s son “simply unacceptable.”
“I want to start by apologizing. While I did not participate in the conversation in question, I was present on occasion during this meeting last year,” Cedillo said. “It is my instinct to hold others accountable when they use derogatory or racially divisive language. Clearly, he should have intervened. I failed to keep myself and others at the highest level. The hurtful and damaging comments that were made about my colleague’s son were simply unacceptable. We choose public life, but our families should always be off limits and never part of political discourse.”
Herrera has not responded to WABNEWS’s request for comment.
De Leon issued a statement to WABNEWS on Sunday saying, “That day, I did not meet the expectations we set for our leaders, and I will hold myself to a higher standard.”
“There were comments made in the context of this meeting that are totally inappropriate; and I am sorry to appear to condone and even contribute to certain insensitive comments made about a colleague and his family in private. I contacted that colleague personally,” de León said.
Despite the apologies, Bonin and Arian point to what they call a coordinated effort to weaken black political representation in Los Angeles.
“The conversation revealed multiple layers of contempt for the people of Los Angeles and a cynical and ugly desire to divide the city rather than serve it,” Bonin and Arian said in their statement.