The president of the Los Angeles City Council resigned Monday after audio leaked of her racist remarks about a colleague’s child and Oaxacan immigrants in the city.
Nury Martinez apologized and resigned “effective immediately” in a statement reported by the Los Angeles Times.
The audio, posted anonymously on Reddit and reported by the Times on Sunday, includes Martinez saying a white council member “handled his young Black son as though he were an accessory” and describing the colleague’s son in Spanish as “like a monkey.”
Martinez also reportedly called the colleague, councilmember Mike Bonin, an expletive, according to the audio shared by the Times, and discussed the child’s behavior during a parade, allegedly saying his parents are “raising him like a little white kid.”
“I was like, this kid needs a beatdown,” Martinez reportedly said. “Let me take him around the corner and then I’ll bring him back.”
Martinez also reportedly referred to Oaxacan immigrants living in the Koreatown neighborhood of Los Angeles as “little short dark people.”
“I take responsibility for what I said and there are no excuses for those comments. I’m so sorry,” she said in the statement reported by the Times. “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.”
The conversation reportedly took place in October 2021 between Martinez, council members Gil Cedillo and Kevin de León, and Los Angeles County Federation of Labor President Ron Herrera, according to the Times. The conversation was largely focused on the council’s frustration with proposed redistricting maps.
Audio of the conversation was first posted on Reddit this month by a now-suspended user, the Times reported. It is unknown who recorded the audio and posted the file and whether anyone else was present at the time of recording.
Multiple council candidates, political groups and sitting council members had called for Martinez’s resignation, including Bonin.
“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 joint statement with his husband, Sean Arian. “The City Council needs to remove her as Council President immediately, and she needs to resign from office. Any parent reading her comments will know she is unfit for public office.”
The audio comes less than a month before the city’s elections for mayor, a race between Democrats Karen Bass and Rick Caruso, and multiple council seats. Martinez has endorsed multiple council candidates ahead of the Nov. 8 vote.
Martinez was elected in 2013 and became the council’s first Latina president in 2020.
Contributing: The Associated Press