Top L.A. Democrat Resigns After Comparing Black Child To Monkey In Leaked Racist Audio
Council President Nury Martinez motion to appoint Heather Hutt as an interim council member for the 10th District, failed to receive the 10 votes required for a public hearing at City Hall on Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2022 in Los Angeles, CA.
Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Democrat Nury Martinez resigned as president of the Los Angeles City Council on Monday, one day after a racist leaked audio recording was released.

Martinez issued a statement regarding her resignation as council president, although she will remain a council member.

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

Martinez and Councilman Kevin de León faced widespread protests and calls for their resignation after they were caught on the recording making racist comments about Councilmember Mike Bonin, a gay white man, and his adopted black son. The conversation also included Los Angeles County Federation of Labor President Ron Herrera. The meeting was largely focused on redistricting the city, which happens once a decade.

“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 know this is the result of my own actions. I’m sorry to your entire family for putting you through this,” she added.

While discussing Bonin, Martinez called his son “Parece changuito,” or “He’s like a monkey,” soon afterward. She later referred to Bonin as a “little b****” and said he is raising his child like a “little white kid.”

Martinez also admitted that her actions fell short of her goal to empower communities of color.

“As someone who believes deeply in the empowerment of communities of color, I recognize my comments undercut that goal,” she added. “Going forward, reconciliation will be my priority. I have reached out to many of my Black colleagues and other Black leaders to express my regret in order for us to heal.”

The recorded conversation included Martinez remarking about Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón after his name was mentioned.

“F*** that guy,” Martinez said. “He’s with the blacks.”

Bonin issued a statement Sunday calling for the City Council to remove Martinez as president,

“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 on Twitter. “It’s vile, abhorrent, and utterly disgraceful.”

De León also issued an apology on Sunday regarding his own comments.

“There were comments made in the context of this meeting that are wholly inappropriate; and I regret appearing to condone and even contribute to certain insensitive comments made about a colleague and his family in private. I’ve reached out to that colleague personally,” he said. “On that day, I fell short of the expectations we set for our leaders — and I will hold myself to a higher standard.”

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