Los Angeles Metropolis Council president resigns after utilizing racist language in leaked recording

Los Angeles City Council President Nury Martinez resigned Monday after she and two other council members were shot with racist remarks.

The newest: Los Angeles County Federation of Labor President Ron Herrera tendered his resignation Monday night over his involvement in the racist talk, according to the Los Angeles Times.

  • He resigned at a meeting of the labor organization’s board of directors, Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, head of the California Labor Federation, told the New York Times.

Driving the news: In a statement announcing her retirement, Martinez asked forgiveness from “my colleagues and the people of this city that I love so much.”

  • “Ultimately, it’s not my apology that matters most; it will be the actions I take from this day forward. I hope that you will give me the opportunity to make amends. Therefore, I am stepping down as President of the Los Angeles City Council, effective immediately,” the statement continued.
  • The California and Los Angeles branches of the NAACP late Sunday demanded that Martinez and the others resign after the Los Angeles Times reported that she called a black child a monkey.
  • The NAACP chapters also called on council members Gil Cedillo, Kevin de León and Herrera to resign for participating in a discussion that included anti-Black and anti-Indigenous comments.

Details: Martinez referred to the child of a white council member who is black as “ese changuito,” or that little monkey, during a Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade, according to leaked audio of a nearly year-long conversation.

  • Martinez also reportedly said that Councilman Mike Bonin treated his son like he was a “follower.” She also referred to Bonin as “little b—h”.
  • Herrera suggested that Bonin publicize his young son like a lawn jockey, the racist statues used to evoke the antebellum South.

Martinez one also hears jokes about indigenous people from the Mexican state of Oaxaca who migrated to Los Angeles.

  • She referred to them as “little little dark people” and called them “ugly.”

What you say: “This type of overt racism has no place in political discourse,” Rick L. Callender, president of the CA/HI State Conference of the NAACP, said in a statement.

  • “We know exactly where your heart and mind are, and both are corroded with the rust of racism and hatred.”

In the meantime, Bricia Lopez, a chef, restaurateur and gold award winner from Los Angeles, Oaxaca, joined calls for her resignation on social media.

  • The words from (Nury Martinez)’s mouth cut deep into LA’s Oaxacan community. I’ve dealt with my fair share of racism. But it’s ten times worse when it comes from a bay boy and a woman. Girl you gotta step down,” she tweeted.

Zoom out: The secretly recorded conversation centered on council members’ frustration that the growing Latino population was not resulting in more Latino council districts and concerns that black leaders would retain some black-majority ones.

  • Martinez, De Leon and Herrera have apologized for their role in the conversation. Cedillo told the Los Angeles Times he had no recollection of the discussion.

Remarkable: Demonstrators demonstrated in front of Martinez’s house on Sunday and played parts of the audio recording. Los Angeles police were later seen in a video shared on social media trying to drive the crowd away from their home.

  • More protests were organized for Monday, with images shared on social media showing demonstrations outside de León’s home.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated with a statement from Martinez confirming her resignation and details of other protests. The headline has also been updated.

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