Nury Martinez tendered her resignation as president of the Los Angeles City Council after leaked audio revealed racist comments she made about a colleague council member and his Black child. But despite her resignation, Martinez will continue to serve as a councilmember.
According to CNN, Martinez made those comments during a conversation she had with Councilmembers Gil Cedillo and Kevin de León and L.A. County Federation of Labor President Ron Herrera. The leaked October 2021 conversation, which The Los Angeles Times obtained, was shared on Reddit by an anonymous user.
In her statement on Monday, Martinez said: “I take responsibility for what I said and there are no excuses for those comments. 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.”
She added: “As someone who believes deeply in the empowerment of communities of color, I recognize my comments undercut that goal. 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.
“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. I hope that you will give me the opportunity to make amends.”
Per The Los Angeles Times, the leaked conversation primarily centered around proposed maps that were tabled by the city’s redistricting commission and the councilmembers’ issues with them. The councilmembers also touched on why it was prudent to “ensure that heavily Latino districts did not lose economic assets” in a process that occurs once every ten years.
But fellow council member Mike Bonin also became a topic of their conversation. In the leaked audio, Martinez can be heard saying “Bonin thinks he’s f**king Black.” Bonin is White.
Martinez also made mention of Bonin’s Black son and how the councilman “handled” the minor “as though he were an accessory” during a float they all attended, The Los Angeles Times reported. Martinez called Bonin’s son “ese changuito” – which is Spanish for “that little monkey.”
Martinez, in the leaked audio, is also heard talking about how the minor was allegedly naughty during the float. “This kid is going to tip us over,” she is heard saying.
“They’re raising him like a little White kid,” Martinez adds. “I was like, this kid needs a beatdown. Let me take him around the corner and then I’ll bring him back.”
Responding to the leaked audio in a statement on Sunday, Bonin and his husband called for Martinez’s removal as president of the City Council. “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. It’s vile, abhorrent, and utterly disgraceful,” the statement said.
The statement continued: “We love our son, a beautiful, joyful child, and our family is hurting today. No child should ever be subjected to such racist, mean and dehumanizing comments, especially from a public official. It is painful to know he will someday read these comments.
“We are equally angry and disgusted by the ugly racist comments about our son from Kevin de León and Ron Herrera, who should also resign their posts, and by the tacit acceptance of those remarks from Gil Cedillo.”
The California/Hawaii State Conference of the NAACP and the organization’s Los Angeles Branch are also demanding the resignation of the councilmembers who partook in the conversation, CNN reported. The organization has also called on the city to launch an investigation into “how far the racial animus has impacted hiring and other decisions of the City Council.”
“We will not sit idly by and allow our elected representatives to engage in these kinds of disgusting and racist behaviors,” Latricia Mitchell, who is the president of the Los Angeles branch of the NAACP, said.
Martinez represents the Sixth Council District. The communities in that district include Hollywood, Panorama City and Arleta.