Black Lives Matter protesters clashed with the LAPD as they attempted to stop the troubled Los Angeles City Council from voting on a new president Tuesday.
A chanting mob of protesters called for halting the vote until Councilmembers Kevin de Leon and Gil Cedillo resign for their part in a 2021 meeting laced with crude, racist comments.
A reporter even caught one protester – activist Joseph Williams – being manhandled by cops by the back of the neck as they tried to push them out of the council. Williams claimed afterward that he had been ‘essentially brutalized by the LAPD.’
The selection of Councilman Paul Krekorian to lead the chamber comes amid a week of turmoil and public outrage over the racist rants that threatened to freeze the Council´s business and prompted the resignations of the former Council President Nury Martinez and a powerful labor leader who also attended the 2021 private meeting, Ron Herrera.
Krekorian, the unanimous choice of the 10 Council members who attended a virtual meeting, the minimum necessary for a quorum to conduct business, said it was time for the city to begin to bridge gaps and restore trust in government.
Williams (pictured left) claimed afterward that he had been ‘essentially brutalized by the LAPD’
A chanting mob of protesters called for halting the vote until Councilmembers Kevin de Leon (pictured right) and Gil Cedillo (pictured left) resign for their part in a 2021 meeting laced with crude, racist comments
Protesters chant a slogan as they face off with police at the entrance of the Los Angeles City Hall in Los Angeles, Tuesday, October 18. The demonstrators demanded the city council stop its virtual meeting Tuesday until two of its members resign over racist remarks
Community members confront with police officers during a protest to condemn the racist comments made in a 2021 recorded conversation by Los Angeles City Councilmen Gil Cedillo and Kevin de LeÃ³n, former Council President Nury Martinez, and former L.A. County Federation of Labor President Ron Herrera
A reporter even caught one protester – activist Joseph Williams – being manhandled by cops by the back of the neck as they tried to push them out of the council.
Protestors demonstrate outside City Hall have dominated council happenings since the leaked conversation
He noted that the election of a Council president is typically a moment of celebration but instead Los Angeles faces ‘one of the most challenging times a city has ever faced.’
Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a statement he would work with Krekorian and the Council ‘to help heal the wounds caused by the hateful words of a few.’
The Council also took preliminary steps that could reshape the way government operates in the nation’s second most-populous city. One proposal will explore expanding the number of Council seats, now set at 15.
A second would overhaul the way the city adjusts Council district boundaries once every decade to account for shifts in population, formally known as redistricting, which played into the furor over the private meeting.
The uproar was triggered by a leaked recording of racist comments from a nearly year-old meeting, which also provided an unvarnished look into the city’s racial rivalries.
The selection of Councilman Paul Krekorian to lead the chamber comes amid a week of turmoil and public outrage over the racist rants that threatened to freeze the Council´s business
Protestors dance outside City Hall while calling for the resignations of LA City Council members Kevin de Leon and Gil Cedillo
Hispanic and indigenous communities joined the protests against the council over the weekend
A brass band plays as women dance joining Indigenous communities from across California during a demonstration
Leaders from Indigenous communities across California hold signs and march in the streets of Los Angeles
The uproar was triggered by a leaked recording of racist comments from a nearly year-old meeting, which also provided an unvarnished look into the city’s racial rivalries
In the profanity-laced clip recorded in October 2021, Martinez can be heard calling colleague Mike Bonin’s son ‘a little monkey’, and accuses him of raising him ‘like a little white kid,’ who needs a ‘beatdown’.
‘Let me take him around the corner and then I’ll bring him back,’ the former city council president added.
‘I take a lot of hits, but my son? 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.’
On Monday evening, Ron Herrera, head of the LA Federation of Labor, resigned from his position over the leaked audio clip which has sparked major backlash.
Los Angeles City Councilmember Nury Martinez resigned after audio leaked of her calling a colleague’s son a ‘little monkey’
Mike Bonin (left) and his partner Sean Arian (far right) with their adoptive son (center)
Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, leader of the California Labor Federation, confirmed that the LA County official had handed in his resignation during an executive meeting.
‘Last night, Ron Herrera resigned from his position as President of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor,’ the statement read in part. ‘The Executive Board of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor also calls on those elected officials who were present to follow President Herrera’s example by immediately resigning as well.’
‘Racism in any form has no place in the House of Labor,’ the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor statement reads.
‘It is unconscionable that those elected to fight for our communities of color would engage in repulsive and vile anti-Black, anti-LGBTQ, anti-Asian and anti-Oaxacan remarks that pit our working communities against each other. These sentiments will not be tolerated by our organization or those who we represent.’
In an initial apology, the labor leader said that he felt remorse for his ‘failure to stand up to racist and anti-black remarks.’
LA City Council member Mike Bonin (pictured) and his adoptive son (left) were unknowingly subjected to derogatory remarks from Martinez and two other city council members in an October 2021 conversation
‘There is no justification and no excuse for the vile remarks made in that room. Period. And I didn’t step up to stop them and I will have to bear the burden of that cross moving forward,’ the statement released by Herrera said.
Those involved in the private meeting spent much of the time discussing how to safeguard Latino political power during the redrawing of council district boundaries.
The California Legislative Black Caucus said the recording ‘reveals an appalling effort to decentralize Black voices during the critical redistricting process.’
Martinez stepped down last week, but two councilmen who participated in the meeting have so far resisted widespread calls for their resignations, including from President Joe Biden.
The Council members, Kevin de Leon and Gil Cedillo, did not attend Tuesday’s virtual meeting.
Not long after the meeting started, Los Angeles police in riot gear faced off with yelling protesters outside a City Hall entrance Tuesday, demanding that the meeting be postponed until the two councilmen resign.
The protest of about 50 people took place outside a door of City Hall, though the Council was meeting virtually with only the acting president and staff inside the chambers. Demonstrators chanted, ‘No resignations, no meeting!’ Police pushed backed protesters who retreated across the street without incident.
On the leaked recording, Martinez makes racist remarks about the Black son of a white councilman and other crude comments. De Leon and Cedillo didn´t object or joined in the offensive banter.
Last week, protesters crowded into the Council chamber and angrily called for the councilmen to resign. Those complaints continued unabated during the virtual meeting Tuesday, as a long list of speakers called for the Council to suspend business until de Leon and Cedillo step down.