Cesar de Leon, a city official from Brownsville, Texas, recently sparked a scandal after being caught on tape using racial slurs. Despite calls for his resignation, de Leon says he will remain in his post.
Roughly two weeks ago, an audio recording was leaked featuring Brownsville City Commissioner Cesar de Leon saying the N-word. While the N-word is the most offensive thing that is said on the recording, the entire clip is really disturbing.
The Brownsville Herald reports that de Leon was talking about two black district attorneys who worked for the Cameron County District Attorney’s Office.
“There are a couple of [F-word and N-word] that Luis Saenz is getting, and I don’t know where he is getting them from,” de Leon says in the recording. “They are coming down to my [F-word] city and now they are trying to [F-word] put everybody in jail because they think we are a bunch of Mexicans that hit our wives, which couldn’t be further from the [F-word] truth, but that is how they see us.”
WARNING: Profanity And Strong Language
That recording, which was shared on social media, forced Brownsville District Attorney Luis Saenz to comment on de Leon, who works in his office.
“The people of Cameron County expect me to hire the most competent prosecutors that I can find, without regard to their race, and that is what I strive to do. Mr. de Leon’s remarks are very shameful and hurtful,” Saenz said, according to The Brownsville Herald. “It is extremely disappointing that they are made by a lawyer and a representative of the City of Brownsville.”
De Leon did apologize, somewhat, for what he said. He didn’t, however, apologize for actually saying the N-word, only that he the general public had to hear it.
“I want to begin by apologizing,” de Leon said in a statement to The Brownsville Herald. “I want to apologize to the citizens of Brownsville or whoever had to listen to those tapes because there is a lot of profane language and that was a private conversation. It was never meant to be public, but it’s very important that people understand that I’m very apologetic.”
Many lawmakers in the city have expressed they want de Leon to resign.
Saenz told NBC affiliate KVEO, “His remarks stand for themselves, speak for themselves. They are racist today, they were racist yesterday, and will be racist tomorrow.”
Veronica Sanders, a Brownsville assistant district attorney that de Leon was referring to in the recording said, according to NBC: “He is not a representation of what Brownsville is or how Brownsville thinks. When you have a person who steps out and says something like that I think it’s time for you to step down.”
On Tuesday night, de Leon addressed the City of Brownsville in a public meeting and said that while he did something terrible, he will not give up his seat.
“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. I will not stop honoring my commitment to the people of Brownsville, nor will I back down in my fight for our great community.”
According to the Brownsville Herald, the people that were in the commission chambers – mostly made up of residents of Brownsville – applauded de Leon when he was done speaking.
Brownsville Mayor Tony Martinez released a statement when the recording came out saying that de Leon’s hate speech “violates the character of our city.”
“The opinions expressed on the audio recordings do not in any way represent the beliefs or policies of the City of Brownsville or its residents. As Mayor of the great City of Brownsville, I denounce the use of racist language or behaviors. We must not allow these comments to detract from the progress that our residents, city staff and City Commission have made to establish Brownsville as an inclusive, welcoming community that values diversity.”
On Friday, October 6, Cesar de Leon submitted a letter of resignation, citing conflicts of interest as his reason for stepping down. “There’s a conflict of interest that has risen between my profession and the commission. Because I’m a practicing attorney conflicts could arise because of the city,” said de Leon to the Brownsville Herald.