California’s attorney general announced Wednesday his office will investigate the Los Angeles City Council to determine whether any laws were broken after an audio recording of racist remarks surfaced this week.
“The investigation comes on the heels of leaked audio revealing deeply concerning remarks tied to the city’s 2021 redistricting efforts,” Attorney General Rob Bonta said in a statement.
The independent probe will seek to determine whether there were any violations of state or federal voting rights laws and transparency laws, Bonta said.
City Council members Nury Martinez, Kevin de León and Gil Cedillo have apologized for their roles in a meeting last year, which was secretly recorded.
Martinez resigned as council president this week, and she announced Wednesday that is resigning from her seat on the council.
In the leaked audio, Martinez likened the Black son of council member Mike Bonin, who was 2 years old at the time, to an animal. She is also heard on the recording implying that the county’s progressive district attorney shouldn’t be supported because he’s “with the Blacks.”
The 2021 audio was from a political strategy meeting attended by a handful of Latino Democrats on the council. It was first reported Sunday by the Los Angeles Times.
The meeting, which Bonta said was about redistricting, was attended by the three council members, as well as Ron Herrera, the president of the powerful Los Angeles County Federation of Labor.
Bonta said in the statement that he was “deeply appalled” by the remarks from some of Los Angeles’ highest-ranking officials.
“Their comments were unacceptable, offensive, and deeply painful,” he said. “There is no place for anti-Black, antisemitic, anti-Indigenous, anti-LGBTQ, or any kind of discriminatory rhetoric in our state, especially in relation to the duties of a public official.”
The recording surfaced on