Los Angeles City Council member Nury Martinez has resigned from her role as president after racist comments that she made about a council member and his Black child were leaked, reports CNN.
Martinez’s resignation as president was effective immediately, but she'll remain a member of the council.
Although the conversation took place almost a year ago, a leaked recording was obtained by the Los Angeles Times on Sunday and calls for Martinez’s resignation was the immediate result. According to the newspaper, the conversation was between Martinez, Councilmembers Gil Cedillo, Kevin de León and Los Angeles County Federation of Labor President Ron Herrera.
In the audio, Martinez said that the white councilman Mike Bonin treated his Black son like an “accessory” and described the child as “Parece changuito,” or “like a monkey.”
“They’re raising him like a little white kid,” Martinez said. “I was like, this kid needs a beatdown. Let me take him around the corner and then I’ll bring him back.” Also, Martinez called Bonin a “little b**tch,” according to the audio.
While speaking about Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. George Gascón, Martinez said, “F— that guy … He’s with the Blacks.”
When the recording surfaced on Sunday, Martinez apologized for her comments.
“I take responsibility for what I said and there are no excuses for those comments,” Martinez said in a statement. “I’m so sorry.”
"I sincerely apologize to the people I hurt with my words: to my colleagues, their families, especially to Mike, Sean, and your son. As a mother, I know better and I am sorry. I am truly ashamed. I know this is the result of my own actions. I'm sorry to your entire family for putting you through this,” her statement continued. "As someone who believes deeply in the empowerment of communities of color, I recognize my comments undercut that goal,” she said. “Going forward, reconciliation will be my priority. I have already reached out to many of my Black colleagues and other Black leaders to express my regret in order for us to heal."
“In a moment of intense frustration and anger, I let the situation get the best of me and I hold myself accountable for these comments. For that I am sorry,” she said.
“The context of this conversation was concern over the redistricting process and concern about the potential negative impact it might have on communities of color,” she added. “My work speaks for itself. I’ve worked hard to lead this city through its most difficult time.”
De León called the comments “wholly inappropriate” saying he fell “short of the expectations we set for our leaders.”
“I regret appearing to condone and even contribute to certain insensitive comments made about a colleague and his family in private,” he said in a statement. “I’ve reached out to that colleague personally.”
In her resignation letter, Martinez said she wants to bring healing to a community that she caused damage to with her divisive rhetoric.
"I ask for forgiveness from my colleagues and from the residents of this city that I love so much. In the end, it is not my apologies that matter most; it will be the actions I take from this day forward," she explained. "I hope that you will give me the opportunity to make amends.”