Florida senator used racial slurs to colleagues

Ausiliatrice Cristiano
Aprile 20, 2017

Democrats are calling for Artiles to resign, and Negron, a Republican, has not ruled out expulsion for violating Senate rules, Tallahassee Democrat reports.

Artiles called Sen. Audrey Gibson obscenities, including one particularly offensive to women, during a conversation at the members-only Governors Club a short walk from the Capitol.

Thurston said Artiles also also called Negron a "p--y".

There aren't many ways local representatives can get some national attention, but using the n-word is definitely one of them. "My comments to you were the most regretful of all because they injured you personally", he said to Gibson. The Rules Committee chairwoman agreed it's likely Artiles violated chamber rules and Senate President Joe Negron assigned a lawyer to the case and asked for a recommendation by Tuesday.

Artiles, who was elected to the Senate in November after serving in the House, also told Gibson and Sen.

"Senator Artiles appears to have an issue with people who don't look like him, who don't think like him, and who don't act like him", Sen.

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

The Florida Times-Union reported that Artiles' tirade apparently stemmed from being upset that Gibson had voted against bills he sponsored and had asked critical questions about the measures. Joe Negron, who had become the new Florida Senate President, according to the Miami Herald. Negron said in a statement that Artiles will need to apologize to Gibson on the Senate floor on Wednesday.

Negron announced shortly before Wednesday's session that Artiles will no longer serve as chairman of the Senate's Committee on Communications, Energy, and Public Utilities. The Herald also reported Artiles referred to Gibson as "this bitch" and "girl" - and told Gibson and Sen. The Florida Democratic Party has called on Artiles to resign. The two senators told the Herald that Artiles later said he'd used the word "niggas", suggesting the slang word wasn't meant to be insulting.

"I grew up in a diverse community". He said the slur was aimed at "no one in particular" and acknowledged that his excuse for using it - losing his temper, according to a statement he released Tuesday - was "inadequate", according to the Herald. "I realize my position does not allow me, for the looseness of words or slang, regardless of how benign my intentions were". In 2015 he was accused of punching a 21-year-old college student outside a Tallahassee bar, and he was caught on tape in 2014 referring to Muslims in a derogatory manner.

Gibson sat stone-faced, and facing forward throughout Artiles' remarks.

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