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LA City Council president resigns after racist comments

Los Angeles City Councilman Nury Martinez (D) announced Monday that she would be stepping down as chairman of the board amid controversy that followed the release of a leaked audio in which she openly made racist comments about a coworker’s son as part of a discussion about the reclassification process of the city.

“I take responsibility for what I have said and there are no apologies for those comments,” Martinez said in a statement. “As a mother, I know better and I’m sorry. I’m really ashamed.”

It appears that Martinez will remain in the 15-member legislative body. She made no mention of leaving her seat as a representative of the city’s 6th district.

According to a Los Angeles Times report, in a taped conversation last fall with three other councilors and a union leader, Councilman Mike Bonin (D), who is white, treated his young black son as if he were an “accessory” and described his son as “Parece changuito”, which translates into “like a monkey”.

The Times also reported that Martinez appeared to be discussing Bonin’s child’s behavior at a parade in 2017. She is said to have said during the phone call:[t]hey, raise him like a little white boy. I was like, this kid needs a spanking. Let me bring it around the corner and I’ll bring it back.”

During the conversation, Martinez could also be heard disparaging other politicians, the Times reported.

In a statement on Sunday, Martinez apologized for the comments, which she apparently did not know were recorded, but stopped announcing she would step down as president.

“In a moment of intense frustration and anger, I let the situation get the best of me and I hold myself accountable for these comments,” she said.

Bonin had called for Martinez’s resignation as president and her resignation from office.

Martinez has been chairman of the board since the end of 2019. She was the first Latina to hold the position.

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