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LA Council Member Takes Leave Of Absence Following Racist Comments, Still Not Resigning

Council member Nury Martinez is not heeding calls to resign.
Council member Nury Martinez is not heeding calls to resign.
Irfan Khan via Getty Images

Nury Martinez (D), a Los Angeles City Council member exposed for making racist comments during a secretly taped conversation with other government officials, announced Tuesday that she is taking a leave of absence.

Martinez stepped down as president Monday after The Los Angeles Times published audio from the October 2021 meeting. But she did not offer her resignation from the council, despite demands from officials up and down the Democratic party.

“This has been one of the most difficult times of my life and I recognize this is entirely of my own making,” Martinez said in Tuesday’s statement. “At this moment, I need to take a leave of absence and take some time to have an honest and heartfelt conversation with my family, my constituents, and community leaders. I am so sorry to the residents of Council District 6, my colleagues, and the City of Los Angeles.”

Veronica Sance participates in a rally outside Los Angeles City Hall on Tuesday to demand Martinez and others in the taped conversation be removed from office,
Veronica Sance participates in a rally outside Los Angeles City Hall on Tuesday to demand Martinez and others in the taped conversation be removed from office,
FREDERIC J. BROWN via Getty Images

Martinez made several troubling remarks during the conversation. She hurled racist and crass comments about her fellow council member Mike Bonin (D) and his son, who is Black, including playing into a racist trope by comparing the child to a monkey. She said Bonin, who is white, “handled” his son like an “accessory” while on a float during the city’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade.

The audio also revealed Martinez saying Bonin is a “little bitch” who “thinks he’s fucking Black” and accused him of raising his child “like a little white kid.”

In another portion of the conversation, Martinez described Oaxacan and Indigenous Mexicans in Los Angeles as “little short dark people” and called them “feos,” or “ugly.”

Democratic council members Gil Cedillo and Kevin de León and LA county labor leader Ron Herrera are also facing calls to resign due to either agreeing with Martinez or not pushing back against her during the taped conversation.

Among those calling for resignations are LA Mayor Eric Garcetti (D), the leaders of the California Democratic Party and members of Congress from the state.

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