LA City Council members Martinez, De León apologize after racist remarks were revealed in leaked audio

LOS ANGELES (KABC) — Los Angeles City Council President Nury Martinez and Councilman Kevin de León on Sunday apologized for an assault on colleague Mike Bonin during an October 2021 conversation that included racial slurs by Martinez against Bonin’s young son.

“In a moment of intense frustration and anger, I endured the situation and am responsible for these comments. I’m sorry about that,” Martinez said in a statement to ABC7.

“The context of this conversation was concern about the redistribution process and concern about the potential negative impact it could have on communities of color,” the statement said. “My work speaks for itself. I’ve worked hard to guide this city through its most difficult time.”

De León also apologized on Sunday.

“Comments were made in connection with this meeting that are totally inappropriate; and I regret that I appear to condone and even contribute to certain insensitive comments about a colleague and his family in private. I reached out to this colleague personally,” he said. “On that day, I failed to live up to the expectations we set for our leaders – and I will hold myself to a higher standard.”

The comments were made during a call with councilors Gil Cedillo and de León and LA Confederation of Labor President Ron Herrera in a conversation focused on the politically sensitive process of redefining the council’s county boundaries. Their conversation also touched on efforts to replace council member Mark Ridley-Thomas, who has been indicted on federal corruption charges.

It was not clear who recorded and leaked the conversation, which appeared on Reddit but was later removed from the page. The conversation was reported for the first time from the Los Angeles Times.

Among other things, Martinez berated Bonin, who is white and has a black son, and criticized the child for his behavior at a Martin Luther King Day parade, saying Bonin’s son misbehaved on a float that might have overturned if she and the other women on the float did not step in to “bring up this child.”

“They’re raising him like a little white kid,” Martinez said. “I figured this boy needed a spanking. Let me bring him around the corner and then I’ll bring him back.”

Martinez also named the kid “ese changuito,” Spanish for “little monkey.”

De León also criticized Bonin. “Mike Bonin will never bleep about Latinos. He’ll never say a damn word about us,” he said.

De León also likened Bonin’s handling of his son at the MLK parade to “when Nury brings her little garden bag or the Louis Vuitton bag.”

So negritolike by the way,” Martinez added, using a Spanish term for a black person that many consider demeaning.

Bonin told the Times he was at the 2017 MLK parade with his young son.

“There’s more I’ll say later, but for now because I’m still digesting it. I’m disgusted and angry and heart ill. It’s fair game to attack me, but my son? You have to be pretty petty and insecure and venomous to attack a child. He wasn’t even 3 years old. Otherwise I’m speechless.”

The City News Service contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2022 KABC Television, LLC. All rights reserved. LA City Council members Martinez, De León apologize after racist remarks were revealed in leaked audio

Laura Coffey

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