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Los Angeles City Council President resigns from leadership after leaking racist comments

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The Los Angeles City Council chairman stepped down from her leadership role on Monday after an audio recording of racist comments surfaced.

Nury Martinez apologized in a statement as she announced her resignation.

“I take responsibility for what I have said and there are no apologies for those comments. I’m so sorry,” she said.

Los Angeles City Council President Nury Martinez, at City Hall on April 1.Damian Dovarganes / AP file

In comments at a meeting last year, Martinez likened a colleague’s son, Black, then 2, to an animal and seemed to imply that the county’s progressive prosecutor should not be supported because he may be popular with Black. Angelenos.

The 2021 audio of a political strategy meeting attended by a handful of Latino Democrats on the council was first reported on Sunday by the Los Angeles Times.

Martinez said in the statement: “As someone who deeply believes in the empowerment of communities of color, I recognize that my comments undermine that purpose. Going forward, reconciliation will be my priority. I have already reached out to many of my black colleagues and others. Black leaders to apologize so we can heal.”

“I ask forgiveness from my colleagues and from the people of this city that I love so much. In the end, it’s not my apologies that matter most; it will be the actions I take from this day forward. I hope you gives me the chance to make up for it,” she added.

“That’s why I resign as Los Angeles City Council president with immediate effect,” she said.

The statement did not say that Martinez resigned from the board. A representative was not immediately reached on Monday.

The audio had surfaced on a Reddit discussion board this month, but was removed. The source of the recording is unknown and NBC News has not determined whether it was edited.

News of the racist comments caused politicians across The Golden State to speak their minds.

In a statement Monday about the comments, California Governor Gavin Newsom said that “racist language can really hurt.”

“I am encouraged that those involved have apologized and taken responsibility for their actions,” Newsom said. “These comments have no place in our state, or in our politics, and we all need to model better behavior to live up to the values ​​so many of us fight every day to protect.”

US Senator Alex Padilla, a California Democrat and himself a former Los Angeles City Council president, said in a statement: pronunciation the comments were “racist” and “dehumanizing”.

“At a time when our nation is grappling with an increase in hate speech and hate crime, these racist comments have exacerbated the pain our communities have endured. Los Angeles deserves better,” Padilla said.

The controversy has also become a hot topic among mayoral candidates, US Representative Karen Bass, a Democrat, and her opponent, billionaire and former Republican Rick Caruso. They compete to replace Mayor Eric Garcetti.

Bass said in a pronunciation: “Los Angeles needs to move in a new direction, and it won’t be possible unless the four people caught on tape leave their office immediately.”

Caruso also called on Martinez, de León and “my friend” Cedillo to resign in a statement, calling the comments “racist and deeply offensive”.

“This is a heartbreaking day for our proud, diverse city,” said Caruso. “I do believe that they are better people at heart than the mean comments we heard on that tape. But they also know that they are role models and that they have let down our city.”

The meeting, apparently about political strategy and realignment, was attended by Martinez and councilors Gil Cedillo and Kevin de León, as well as Ron Herrera, the chairman of the powerful Los Angeles County Federation of Labor. All are Latino Democrats.

The comments about the child, the son of outgoing councilor Mike Bonin, related to his behavior at a parade in 2017, when he was 2. Martinez used a Spanish term to call the boy an animal.

Martinez also fired Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón, a legal reform advocate who has been taunted by law and order politicians and who has survived two Republican-led recall attempts because he won the support of the people. in the room is unworthy.

“F— that guy. He’s with the Blacks,” she said.

Also on the recording, De León named Bonin, who is white, the “fourth black member” of the 15-seat council. De León said Bonin doesn’t support Latinos — that he’s never said “beep” about them.

Martinez asked why Bonin allegedly thinks he is black, and De León replied, “His child is.”

De León — a San Diego-raised politician who rose to statewide fame as a legislator and then unsuccessfully ran for mayor of Los Angeles — suggested he treat his son like a fashion accessory, a handbag.

Herrera didn’t seem to make racist remarks. He did say that the group’s support for a leader to take over the seat of a traditionally black district should be someone who would be an ally on Latino interests.

Bonin has called on Martinez, De León and Herrera to resign, saying the episode points to deep rifts in the city’s population.

The statement characterized Martinez’s comments about the son as “dehumanizing” and said: “It is painful to know that he will one day read these comments.”

The Bonin family statement said Cedillo alone could not be involved in making or supporting racist views, but it expressed disappointment, saying his apparent silence was “tacit acceptance of those comments.”

All four have apologized in statements.


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