Tension remains high days after audio leaked of former Los Angeles City Council President Nury Martinez making racist statements last year with other city leaders during a private meeting.
In the room with Martinez were councilman Kevin de León and Gil Cedillo and labor leader Ron Herrera, all of whom participated in the conversation, which included Martinez calling the Black son of another council member a “changuito” (little monkey).
Although Martinez resigned from her position as president, she remains on the city council. Her decision not to fully resign did not sit well with other council members and residents, who spoke during a city council meeting Tuesday (October 11), the same day Martinez took a leave of absence.
Many are demanding she, de León, and Cedillo resign from the city council immediately. Herrera resigned from his position as President of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor Monday evening (October 10).
The remaining council members introduced a motion to censure Martinez, de León, and Cedillo and demanded their resignation. “Their actions and inactions were completely contrary to the standard of conduct that the public is entitled to demand of its elected public servants,” the motion reads. “They demonstrated contempt and disrespect toward communities and individuals they were elected to serve, and they have damaged the public’s faith in how this city is governed.”
Martinez was not in attendance at the meeting. De León and Cedillo took their seats for a short time but left minutes later when the public would not come to order. Councilman Mike Bonin, whose Black son was at the center of Martinez’s racist remarks, made comments during the meeting.
“My husband and I are both raw and angry and heartbroken, and sick for our family and for Los Angeles,” he said. “Public officials are supposed to call us to our highest selves. These people stabbed us and shot us and cut the spirit of Los Angeles.”
President Joe Biden also called on those involved to resign from the council. “The president is glad to see that one of the participants in that conversation has resigned, but he believes they all should resign,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Tuesday. “The language that was used and tolerated during that conversation was unacceptable and is appalling. He believes they should all step down.”