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Protesters at LA City council chambers. Photo: Ifran Khan/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images.
A Los Angeles City Council meeting was rattled by protesters who sent a clear message to officials. Photo: Ifran Khan/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images.

“Resign,” protestors have a message for L.A. city councilmembers at most-recent meeting

Proceedings were interrupted amid calls for the remaining councilmembers involved in a racially-charged meeting to resign.

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Meeting minutes in L.A. City Council on Tuesday, Oct. 10 will include additional calls for resignation as an incensed electorate disrupted a meeting to demand the immediate resignation of the councilmembers involved in a racist conversation.

Since a leaked recording of a closed-door meeting surfaced on social media, former City Council President Nury Martínez and Ron Herrera, former President of the Federation of labor, resigned from their posts in disgrace. Martínez said today she will take a leave of absence, but did not confirm whether or not she will keep her Council seat. 

Martínez is not up for reelection, but two other remaining Councilmembers — Kevin De León and Gil Cedillo — have kept their posts and continued business as usual for today’s agenda in city chambers. 

The meeting was cut short by seething members of the community who are calling for the immediate removal of all councilmembers involved from their official duties, as well as an official investigation into matters related to their work in Los Angeles Council. 

“It’s shameful. The fact that we have elected officials who think it is their right to sit and mock Black folks, to mock indigenous folk, to mock people in this city that you have torn apart with your words,” one protester, Bernice, said to city officials who took statements from members of the public present in a more orderly fashion. 

In the recording, Martínez could be heard making disparaging remarks toward George Gascón, evoking an association with what is purported to be understood as Black voters. “[Redacted] that guy. He’s with the Blacks,” she said, during a meeting to ostensibly discuss redistricting efforts in Los Angeles.

Martínez did not stop there. Amid discussions about a council colleague, Councilmember Mike Bonin, the disgraced Council President made directed comments about his son, at one point referring to him as a ‘monkey.’ Councilmember Bonin’s son is a Black child, adopted by him and his partner.

“I want an immediate resignation from each one of them. Then, I want an investigation into everything that has been done in the 10th District. I want it to be reviewed, because anything that people, and Black people, in that part of the city have tried to do, this City Council has stood in the way,” Bernice continued. 

Also during the meeting, which Councilmembers Cedillo and De León promptly exited, Bonin delivered remarks of his own. 

“But let me be clear, people should not ask me for forgiveness. I can’t forgive them because it’s not my prerogative. It’s the prerogative of a boy who’s too young to really understand what’s going on,” said Bonin. 

After almost two hours of tense exchanges between activists and city officials, the temperature seemed to cool off as members were given the opportunity, by city council, to offer their criticisms at the heels of the leaked conversation. 

Right now, it remains unclear whether the two standing will heed to the activists’ demands, including calls from other city officials. 

Mónica Rodríguez, city councilwoman for the 7th District, said in a statement she would begin a probe into the removal of the Council President, and introduced a motion today to formalize proceedings to do so. 

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