The Los Angeles City Council president and other members are under fire after leaked audio revealed the officials made anti-black and other offensive remarks during a private meeting last year.
The footage came from an October 2021 redistricting meeting between President Nury Martinez, Councilmen Gil Cedillo and Kevin de León and LA County Federation of Labor President Ron Herrera. All three of the elected representatives are Latin American democrats.
The audio was first obtained and reported Sunday by the Los Angeles Times. It was not clear who leaked the audio to newspaper.
Mrs. Martinez was caught making the most outrageous comments, like when she said gay, white Councilman Mike Bonin treats his adopted black son like an “accessory.”
The council president also said in Spanish that the child “looks like a little monkey.”
When she discussed how Mr. Bonin’s child behaved violently on a parade float during the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Ms. Martinez said that Mr. Bonin and his partner “raised him like a little white kid,” according to the report sound obtained by Knock LA.
“I was like, ‘This kid needs a beatdown. Let me take him around the corner and I’ll bring him back,” she said.
Mr. Martinez took shots at George Gascón, the LA County District Attorney, when she said, “F–k that guy. He’s with the blacks.”
The group later talked about moving Los Angeles International Airport away from Mr. Bonin, where Ms. Martinez referred to him as “little bra Bonin.”
She referenced a separate conversation about redistricting when Ms. Martinez said “Bonin thinks he’s black” before Mr. de Leon chimed in with “His kid is.”
Mr. Bonin and his partner released a joint statement after the footage was released, saying Ms. Martinez’s “horrific racist slurs” about their son should prompt the City Council to remove her as president.
Our family statement on today’s ugly and hateful news. pic.twitter.com/0fPPXwsS5B
— Mike Bonin (@mikebonin) 9 October 2022
The three black members of the 15-person council — Curren Price, Marqueece Harris-Dawson and Heather Hutt — released a joint announcement Sunday, calling politicians’ past support for Black Lives Matter a “facade.”
“The actions of our colleagues should not be tolerated and a stupid tongue has no place in City Hall,” the statement read. “Not today, not tomorrow, never ever.”
Mrs. Martinez apologized for her comments.
“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 in a announcement broadcast to NBC Los Angeles. “I’m sorry.”
Mr. de Leon said in a statement that he regrets that he “appeared to condone and even contribute to certain insensitive comments about a colleague and his family in private,” according to NBC. He added that he contacted Mr. Bonin private.
Mr. Cedillo did not participate in the discussions, but apologized for not interfering when he heard the derogatory language being used.
California Democratic Party Chairman Rusty Hicks and Lorena Gonzalez of the California Labor Federation both condemned the remarks in separate statements, according to NBC, but neither called for resignations.
The LA City Council has a meeting scheduled for Tuesday at 10 local time.