Los Angeles City Council president resigns amid controversy over racist comments

Los Angeles City Council President Nury Martinez has resigned after a recording surfaced of her making racist and offensive comments about other council members.

Martinez will remain as a member of the City Council but will relinquish his leadership role.

“I take responsibility for what I said and there are no excuses for those comments. I am so sorry,” Martinez wrote in a letter Monday.

Martinez allegedly referred to white Councilman Mike Bonin’s son, who is Black, as an “accessory” in a recording of three Latino members of the Los Angeles City Council. The recording was posted anonymously to Reddit and later deleted, however the Los Angeles Times reviewed the recording and certified it as authentic.

ABC News has not independently verified the authenticity of the audio.

Martinez also reportedly said Bonin’s young son acted “parece changuito” or “like a monkey” in the recording.

“I sincerely apologize to the people I hurt with my words: to my colleagues, their families, especially to Mike, [his husband] Sean [Arian], and your son,” Martinez wrote in the letter announcing her resignation as council president. “As a mother, I know better and I’m sorry. I’m really ashamed. I know this is the result of my own actions. I’m sorry to your whole family for putting you through this.”

PHOTO: Los Angeles City Council President Nury Martinez speaks during a news conference at City Hall in Los Angeles on April 1, 2022.

Los Angeles City Council President Nury Martinez speaks during a press conference at City Hall in Los Angeles on April 1, 2022.

Damian Dovarganes/AP, FILE

Bonin said Sunday on Twitter that Martinez should step down as president and resign from the City Council, along with Gil Cedillo and Kevin de León, the other two council members on the tape. Martinez also noted on the tape that the child, who was only a toddler at one point, misbehaved on a parade float and needed a “beatdown.”

“We are appalled, angry and absolutely disgusted that Nury Martinez attacked our son with horrific racial slurs and spoke of her desire to physically harm him,” Bonin wrote. “This is disgusting, despicable and completely disgraceful. The City Council needs to remove her as Council President immediately and she needs to step down from office. Any parent who reads her comments will know she is unfit to a public office.”

In response to Martinez’s comment about Bonin using her child as an “accessory,” de León compared it to Martinez’s “Goyard bag or Louis Vuitton bag.”

“There were comments made in connection with this meeting that are completely inappropriate; and I regret that I appear to condone and even contribute to certain insensitive comments about a colleague and his family in private,” de León said in a statement on Sunday. “I have contacted that colleague personally.

“That day I did not live up to the expectations we set for our leaders – and I will hold myself to a higher standard.”

The comments came during a meeting discussing redistricting in the city. At one point, Martinez also calls Bonin “a little b—-” when he says a fellow council member should take the area of ​​the city, including Los Angeles International Airport, away from Bonin.

PHOTO: Los Angeles City Councilman Mike Bonin speaks during a news conference at the Tom Bradley International Terminal at Los Angeles International Airport on May 24, 2021, in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles City Councilman Mike Bonin speaks during a press conference at the Tom Bradley International Terminal at Los Angeles International Airport on May 24, 2021, in Los Angeles.

Ashley Landis/AP, FILE

De León is considered a star in the Southern California Democratic Party. He ran for mayor this year, but lost in the June primary. His current city council seat is not up for election until 2024.

Martinez, whose seat also runs through 2024, has served on the City Council since 2013. Cedillo is already leaving the council. He lost in his primary election in June and will be replaced later this year.

All four city council members involved in the dispute are Democrats.

ABC News’ Alex Stone, Bonnie McLean and Nick Kerr contributed to this report.

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