Los Angeles City Council president resigns after racist remarks emerge on leaked audio
Nury Martinez will reportedly retain her LA City Council seat
Los Angeles City Council President Nury Martinez resigned from her leadership role on Monday following a report about an audio recording that captured openly racist remarks made with other Latino council members last year, including those directed at a White colleague’s young Black son.
Martinez said in a statement Monday that, effective immediately, "I am resigning as President of the Los Angeles City Council." The move reportedly means that she still retains her seat as a council member.
"I take responsibility for what I said and there are no excuses for those comments. I am so sorry," Martinez said in a follow-up apology statement on Monday.
"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 am sorry to your entire family for putting you through this."
LA CITY COUNCIL PRESIDENT CALLED TO STEP DOWN OVER RACIST REMARKS IN LEAKED AUDIO
"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 regret in order for us to heal," she continued. "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."
The Los Angeles Times first reported about the audio recording on Sunday of a conversation that happened in October 2021 between Martinez, council members Gil Cedillo and Kevin de León, and L.A. County Federation of Labor President Ron Herrera while discussing the redrawing of districts.
According to the Times, Martinez criticized another colleague, Councilor Mike Bonin, who is White, over the parenting of his Black son, who she said Bonin treated like an "accessory."
Martinez remarked on the toddler’s behavior during a Martin Luther King Day parade, saying that the float would have tipped over if she and the other women present didn’t step in to "parent this kid."
"They're raising him like a little White kid," Martinez said, according to the recording leaked on Reddit. "I was like, 'This kid needs a beatdown. Let me take him around the corner, and then I'll bring him back."'
Martinez also called Bonin's son "ese changuito," Spanish for "that little monkey."
De León chimed in, comparing Bonin’s handling of the toddler to "when Nury brings her little yard bag or the Louis Vuitton bag."
"Su negrito, like on the side," Martinez added.
It’s not clear who made or leaked the recording.
But seemingly unaware she was being recorded at the time, Martinez also recalled a conversation she had with businessman Danny Bakewell about possibly transferring Los Angeles International Airport out of Bonin's council district and into that of City Council member Marqueece Harris-Dawson. The council president said she told Bakewell, "Go get the airport from his little brother — that little b---- Bonin."
"Mike Bonin won't f---ing ever say peep about Latinos. He'll never say a f---ing word about us," De León added.
Martinez also derided Los Angeles County District George Gascón after the group pondered whether Gascón would endorse Cedillo in his re-election campaign against Eunessis Hernandez.
"F--- that guy. ... He's with the Blacks," Martinez is heard saying, according to FOX 11 Los Angeles.
The conversation also steered toward City Council member Mark Ridley-Thomas’ indictment on federal corruption charges, as Martinez said Controller Ron Galperin would decide whether Ridley-Thomas still gets paid during his suspension.
"You need to go talk to that White guy," Martinez said. "It's not us. It's the White members on this council that will motherf--- you in a heartbeat."