Florida senator used racial slurs to colleagues

Sen. Perry Thurston demanded that Artiles apologize for the shocking remarks

Audrey Gibson (D) and Perry Thurston (D), who are both black, when he said that "six n****rs" had helped get Senate President Joe Negron (R) elected.

Artiles is expected to formally apologize to Gibson Thursday on the Senate floor, Negron announced.

Artiles' remarks were made Monday in the private, members-only Governor's Club a block from the Capitol.

News reports say a Florida state senator used racial slurs and insults in a private after-hours conversation with African-American colleagues.

"With regard to the word, which I used toward no one in particular, but that is rightfully the most inflammatory, I know my explanation is inadequate, but it's honest", Artiles said. But not in Gibson's and Thurston's, they said.

Artiles later told the lawmakers that he used the term "n--", a suggestion that the slang term was not meant to be derogatory or insulting, the Herald reports, adding that it's unclear exactly whom Artiles was referring to since the only black senators in the state Senate are all Democrats - none of whom backed Negron's bid.

Charly Norton, executive director of the advocacy group FloridaStrong, said the time has come for Artiles' "embarrassing tenure" to end.

He was stripped of his chairmanship of the Communications, Energy and Public Utilities Committee. At this, Gibson said she was "done", and left the establishment. There are no black Republican members in Florida's state senate, and none of the six black Democratic senators would have voted in favor of Negron in any case. A number of her Democratic colleagues, some advocacy groups and the Florida Democratic Party have all asked Artiles to step down.

At the time, Artiles reportedly defended his statement by saying he did not say "n****rs", but rather the similar-sounding slang term. Thurston, who was also at the table, urged Artiles to apologize, which he did-and then opted to use a racial slur.

"Simply dismissing these charges Senator Artiles has admitted to as a passing lapse, or his temper getting the better of him, or a product of his childhood town, doesn't cut it", Braynon said.

Artiles first apologized Tuesday afternoon, after Negron was told about the incident.

"I grew up in a diverse community. "'No, I said 'n*ggas, '" which is different in his mind".

The apology lasted less than 4 minutes and the legislative black caucus plans to hold an emergency meeting Wednesday, the Herald reports.

Further, Negron himself blasted Artiles for making the comments.

The Miami Herald also recently obtained a recording of Artiles using the anti-Muslim slur "hajis" in 2014, if for some reason you need even more proof that this is a person who should not be writing laws. He also lobbed insults at Senate President Joe Negron, calling him a "pussy".

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