L.A. City Council President Resigns Leadership Post After Leaked Racist Remarks

Los Angeles City Councilwoman Nury Martinez, who is facing a torrent of criticism and calls for her resignation over racially charged remarks she made in a recorded conversation last year, announced Tuesday she is taking a “leave of absence” from the council.

“This has been one of the most difficult times of my life and I recognize this is entirely of my own making,” Martinez said in a statement. “At this moment, I need to take a leave of absence and take some time to have an honest and heartfelt conversation with my family, my constituents, and community leaders. I am so sorry to the residents of Council District 6, my colleagues, and the city of Los Angeles.”

Her announcement came one hour before the City Council was scheduled to convene its first meeting since the weekend leak of the recorded conversation from October 2021, which has unleashed a firestorm of criticism toward Martinez and two other council members in the meeting — Kevin de León and Gil Cedillo. Los Angeles County Federation of Labor President Ron Herrera, who also took part in the conversation, resigned from his post Monday night.

Martinez on Monday resigned as council president, but she has resisted calls to resign her seat altogether.

The leaked audio from an October 2021 conversation became public Sunday when an anonymous user posted it on Reddit. In it, Martinez was heard referring to Councilman Mike Bonin’s Black son by a racist slur in Spanish and referring to his misbehavior during a parade by remarking “This kid needs a beatdown.”

Bonin and many other L.A. leaders called for Martinez and de León to resign.

“We are appalled, angry, and absolutely disgusted that Nury Martinez attacked our son with horrific racist slurs, and talked about her desire to physically harm him,” Bonin wrote in a statement with his partner Sean Arian. “It’s vile, abhorrent, and utterly disgraceful.”

Martinez also called the child “ese changuito,” Spanish for “that little monkey.”

De León also criticized Bonin. “Mike Bonin won’t f—–g ever say peep about Latinos. He’ll never say a f—–g word about us,” he said.

De León compared Bonin’s handling of his son at the MLK Parade to “when Nury brings her little yard bag or the Louis Vuitton bag.”

Su negrito, like on the side,” Martinez added, using a Spanish term for a Black person that’s considered demeaning by many.

Civil rights groups and other city leaders have issued statements condemning the remarks, with some calling for disciplinary measures against the councilmembers.

“The Los Angeles I love is a welcoming and nurturing place,” Mayor Eric Garcetti said. “As Mayor, as a father, and as an Angeleno, I am saddened by what I read. There is no place in our city family for attacks on colleagues and their loved ones, and there is no place for racism anywhere in LA. Everyone in our city deserves to feel safe and treated with equal respect. These words fall short of those values.”


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