LOS ANGELES - Nury Martinez on Monday announced her resignation as Los Angeles City Council president amid backlash over racist comments made about Councilman Mike Bonin's Black son that were revealed in a leaked recording from last fall.
She has resigned from her position as council president but maintains her seat on the council.
Los Angeles County Federation of Labor President Ron Herrera, who took part in the meeting, has also resigned his post as of Monday night, according to a published report.
Martinez issued the following statement Monday morning:
"I take responsibility for what I said and there are no excuses for those comments. I’m so sorry.
I sincerely apologize to the people I hurt with my words: to my colleagues, their families, especially to Mike, Sean, and your son. As a mother, I know better and I am sorry. I am truly ashamed. I know this is the result of my own actions. I’m sorry to your entire family for putting you through this.
As someone who believes deeply in the empowerment of communities of color, I recognize my comments undercut that goal. Going forward, reconciliation will be my priority. I have already reached out to many of my Black colleagues and other Black leaders to express my regret in order for us to heal.
I ask for forgiveness from my colleagues and from the residents of this city that I love so much. In the end, it is not my apologies that matter most; it will be the actions I take from this day forward. I hope that you will give me the opportunity to make amends.
Therefore, effective immediately I am resigning as President of the Los Angeles City Council."
Following her resignation, LA County Supervisor Janice Hahn suggested Bonin serve as president of the council on social media.
Controversy erupts amid leaked audio
On Sunday, audio was leaked of Martinez using racist language about Bonin’s then two-year-old son during a conversation from October 2021.
The remarks were made during a talk with Councilmembers Gil Cedillo and Kevin de León and L.A. County Federation of Labor President Ron Herrera, in a conversation that focused on the politically sensitive process of redrawing council district boundaries. Their talk also touched on the efforts to replace Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas, who's been indicted on federal corruption charges.
Herrera offered his resignation on Monday night at a meeting with the federation's executive board, which accepted, the Los Angeles Times reported. The head of the California Labor Federation, Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, confirmed Herrera's resignation to The Times. A source told the paper that the county federation would made a formal statement on Tuesday.
It's unclear who recorded and leaked the conversation, which appeared on Reddit but was later removed from the site. CNS reviewed the conversation, which was first reported by the Los Angeles Times.
Among other comments, Martinez belittled 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 was misbehaving on a float, which might have tipped over if she and the other women on the float didn't step in to "parent this kid."
"They're raising him like a little white kid," Martinez said. "I was like, `this kid needs a beatdown. Let me take him around the corner and then I'll bring him back."'
Martinez also called the child "ese changuito," Spanish for "that little monkey."
In an earlier statement released to FOX 11, Martinez said, "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. For that I am sorry. The context of this conversation was concern over the redistricting process and concern about the potential negative impact it might have on communities of color. My work speaks for itself. I’ve worked hard to lead this city through its most difficult time."
City News Service contributed to this report.