Nury Martinez resigns Los Angeles City Council seat amid leaked recording of racist remarks

ByABC7.com staff via KABC logo
Thursday, October 13, 2022
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Los Angeles City Councilwoman Nury Martinez is resigning amid intense public pressure that followed the leak of racist remarks she made last year.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Following intense public pressure amid a growing controversy over racist remarks, Los Angeles City Councilwoman Nury Martinez announced Wednesday she is resigning her seat.

Remarks made by Martinez last year in conversation with two other councilmembers and a local union boss were released on audio over the weekend, in which she made disparaging and racist comments about another council member's young Black son. She was also heard making racially disparaging remarks in the context of discussions over the redistricting of City Council seats.

Members of the public have been showing up at City Hall in large numbers to demand Martinez - as well as councilmembers Kevin de León and Gil Cedillo - resign.

RELATED: Protesters demand resignations, reform after LA City Council members caught making racist remarks

Martinez had already resigned her position as president of the council. Now she is leaving the seat altogether.

"It is with a broken heart that I resign my seat for Council District 6, the community I grew up in and my home," Martinez said in a statement released by her office Wednesday afternoon.

Councilman Mitch O'Farrell, who became acting council president after Martinez stepped down from the leadership post, called on de León and Cedillo to also resign.

"For Los Angeles to heal, and for its City Council to govern, there must be accountability," O'Farrell said. "The resignation of Councilmember Nury Martinez is the first, necessary step in that process. To that end, I repeat my call on Councilmembers de Leon and Cedillo to also resign. There is no other way forward."

Both Mayor Eric Garcetti and Gov. Gavin Newsom said Martinez made the right call to resign. Garcetti said Cedillo and de León should do the same.

"Nury made the right decision, one that I realize is painful to her personally but unquestionably in the best interests of a city that I know she loves," Garcetti said. "Racism and hateful words cannot ever be overlooked by our community or within one's self, and she needs the time and space to reflect, make amends, and move forward with her life. Her two former colleagues must arrive at the same decision soon, because Angelenos deserve a government focused squarely on meeting challenges in their neighborhoods that are too serious to risk a paralyzed City Council."

Newsom said: "This is the right move. Again, these comments have no place in our state, or in our politics, and we must all model better behavior to live the values that so many of us fight every day to protect."

Protesters with the SEIU showed up at de León's office in Boyle Heights to call for him to resign. Union members say they feel hurt and betrayed by the councilman's comments, especially after they helped campaign for him.

Critics are also calling for Cedillo to resign. He was present during the conversation but was not heard making remarks as controversial as those by Martinez and de León. Cedillo lost his primary election in June and if he doesn't resign first, his term will end in December anyway.

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The growing controversy has also sparked calls to re-examine the redistricting that the city undertook last year.

California Attorney General Rob Bonta said Wednesday his office will investigate the city's redistricting process.

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