The president of the Los Angeles City Council resigned Monday after audio leaked of her racist comments about a colleague’s son and Oaxacan immigrants in the city.
Nury Martinez apologized and resigned “effective immediately” in a statement reported by the Los Angeles Times.
The audio, posted anonymously on Reddit and reported Sunday by the Times, includes Martinez saying a white council member “treated her young black son like he was an accessory” and describing the colleague’s son in Spanish as “like a monkey”.
According to audio shared by the Times, Martinez also called colleague Councilman Mike Bonin an expletive and talked about the boy’s behavior during a parade, allegedly saying his parents were “raising him like a child white”.
“I said this kid needs a beating,” Martinez said. “Let me take him around the corner and then I’ll take him back.”
Martinez also referred to Oaxacan immigrants living in Los Angeles’ Koreatown neighborhood as “little dark people.”
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“I take responsibility for what I said and there are no excuses for those comments. I am very sorry,” he said in the statement reported by the Times. “As a mother, I know better and I’m sorry. I’m truly ashamed. I know this is the result of my own actions. I’m sorry to your whole family for putting you through this.”
According to the Times, the conversation took place in October 2021 between Martinez, council members Gil Cedillo and Kevin de León and Los Angeles County Federation of Labor President Ron Herrera. The conversation largely focused on the council’s frustration with the proposed redistricting maps.
Audio of the conversation was first posted on Reddit this month by a suspended user, the Times reported. It is unknown who recorded the audio and posted the file and if anyone else was there at the time of the recording.
Several council candidates, political groups and sitting council members had called for Martinez’s resignation, including Bonin.
“We are dismayed, angry and absolutely disgusted that Nury Martínez has attacked our son with horrific racist slurs and speaks of his desire to physically harm him,” Bonin. she wrote in a joint statement with her husband, Sean Arian. “The City Council must immediately remove her as President of the Council and she must resign from office. Any parent who reads her comments will know that she is unfit for public office.”
The audio comes less than a month before the city’s mayoral election, a race between Democrats Karen Bass and Rick Caruso and several council seats. Martinez has endorsed several council candidates ahead of the Nov. 8 vote.
Martinez was elected in 2013 and became the council’s first Latino president in 2020.
Contributor: The Associated Press