The Los Angeles City Council voted to censure two of its members and its former president on Wednesday following revelations of racist remarks that were made during a meeting the three had last year.
Former City Council President Nury Martinez, who was heard making a series of racist remarks in a recording of the private meeting that was first posted on Reddit and reported by the Los Angeles Times earlier this month, resigned her position on the council earlier this month, but council members Kevin de Léon and Gil Cedillo, who were also heard on the recording, have refused to resign.
The council voted unanimously, 12-0, to censure the members. The body cannot remove de Léon and Cedillo from their positions, The Associated Press reported, but the censure places increased pressure on them to step down.
De Léon and Cedillo were not present at the meetings. They have apologized for their comments.
Top political leaders, including President Biden and California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), have called on the two to resign.
Martinez has received the most scrutiny for various racist comments she made, including saying that L.A. District Attorney George Gascón (D) is “with the Blacks” and calling residents of a Hispanic Koreatown neighborhood “short, dark people.”
She also criticized the Black son of a fellow council member, saying he looks “like a little monkey” and “they’re raising him like a little white kid, which, I was like, this kid needs a beatdown.”
Those present at the meeting –– Cedillo, de Léon and then-L.A. County Labor Federation President Ron Herrera –– responded to Martinez’s comments by laughing.
The council members also discussed redistricting the city to ensure they stay in power, lessening the political power of Black residents.
Herrera also resigned his position after the recording of the meeting was publicized.
The Los Angeles Police Department has launched a criminal investigation into if the recording of the meeting was made illegally and who is responsible for it.
California Attorney General Rob Bonta (D) is investigating how the borders of council districts were drawn and if the process was fair.
Protesters interrupted the meeting before the council’s censure vote, holding a sign that said the meeting was “illegitimate.” They also chanted “justice now.”
Officers eventually cleared the room of the protesters before the meeting continued.