Texas Lawmaker Says He Won't Resign Over Racist Remarks
Brownsville City Commissioner Cesar De Leon apologizes to the citizens of Brownsville during a public city commissioners meeting at the Brownsville City Commission Chambers on Oct. 3, 2017, after a recording surfaced of De Leon making derogatory statements.Miguel Roberts / The Brownsville Herald via AP
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A Texas lawmaker who used racial slurs to describe two African-American prosecutors says he will not resign.
In a city hall meeting Tuesday night, Brownsville city commissioner at-large Cesar De Leon publicly apologized for his remarks and said he does not condone or practice racism.
“I made a terrible mistake, but please believe, I still stand against injustice, unfair, and unlawful treatment of any American regardless of race, religion, age or social standing," De Leon said in remarks that were posted on YouTube. "I will not stop honoring my commitment to the people of Brownsville, nor will I back down in my fight for our great community.”
In September, a recording of De Leon using the n-word and f-word to describe the prosecutors was posted on social media, which has since been taken down.
“There are a couple of f----ing n-----s that Luis Saenz is getting, and I don’t know where he is getting them from. They are coming down to my f---ing city and now they are trying to f---ing put everybody in jail because they think we are a bunch of Mexicans that hit our wives," De Leon said according to The Brownsville Herald. “They are f---ing ... and I would say this, that I would never dare use that word, but you know what, yes, there are a couple of n-----s in there that think that all of us are f---ing taco eaters.”
De Leon also apologized in an interview with the Herald, and said his comments were private and were never meant to be public.
Veronica Sanders, one of Brownsville assistant district attorneys De Leon was disparaging in the recording, said the perfect apology would be for him to announce his resignation.
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“He is not a representation of what Brownsville is or how Brownsville thinks,” Sanders told NBC News on Wednesday. “When you have a person who steps out and says something like that I think it’s time for you to step down.”
Cameron County District Attorney Luis V. Saenz also said De Leon should resign.
“His remarks stand for themselves, speak for themselves. They are racist today, they were racist yesterday, and will be racist tomorrow," Saenz told NBC affiliateKVEO.
Brownsville Mayor Tony Martinez said in a statement the remarks “violates the character of our city."
De Leon also apologized to Sanders in a private letter and said that in a moment of frustration he wasn’t thinking about his words. “Hopefully one day I will be able to right my wrong," read the letter, a copy of which was seen by NBC News.
De Leon did not reply to requests for comment from NBC News.
Sanders said she wouldn’t expect racial comments to come from De Leon because he is Mexican-American, and thus a minority like her. She also said he was always cordial to her.
Mary Helen Flores, a Brownsville resident who organized a protest outside of the Tuesday night meeting at city hall, said De Leon's comments were an embarrassment to the community.
“My family and I do not want him speaking on our behalf or representing us in public office," Flores told NBC News.