Saturday, December 10, 2022

L.A. City Council Members in Deep Water for Uttering Racist Remarks in a Leaked Conversation

Los Angeles city leaders face reprimand and shame after an audio recording of racist remarks at a private meeting surfaced. City Council President, Nury Martinez, compared a colleague’s son, Black and two years old, to an animal and implied that the county’s progressive district attorney shouldn’t be supported because he may be popular with Black Angelenos.

The audio from a political strategy meeting surfaced on a Reddit discussion board but was deleted soon after. The meeting was attended by Martinez and council members Gil Cedillo and Kevin de León and Ron Herrera, the L.A. County Federation of Labor–all Latino democrats. The Los Angeles Times was the first to report the incident.

As well as likening a child to an animal, Martinez also dismissed Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón as unworthy of the support of the people in the room.

“F— that guy. He’s with the Blacks,” she said.

De León used homophobic and racially insensitive language against Bonin, saying that because he is gay, he should treat his son like a handbag. Martinez asked why Bonin allegedly thinks he’s Black, and De León responded, “His kid is.” De León, also called Bonin, is white, the 15-seat council’s “fourth Black member.”

Cedillo participated in the conversation when it turned out to find support in finding a new council seat after Mark Ridley-Thomas was suspended for alleged corruption. Herrera didn’t say anything racially insensitive, but he allocated for a council member in the Black district who is an ally for Latinos.

Bonin called for Martinez, De León, and Herrera to resign, and Alex Alonso, a Chicano and Latino studies scholar at California State University, Los Angeles, says he agrees.

“This is very emblematic of how difficult it is to improve Black-brown relations in our city,” said Alonso, who is Black and Latino. Bonin believes the comments about his son are “dehumanizing” and said, “It is painful to know he will someday read these comments.” Bonin urged the council to remove Martinez as president following the conversation leak.

All four members apologized for their remarks. Martinez said the meeting was about redistricting and how it could better represent people of color.

NBC News