A Miami senator has found himself in hot water.
Republican official, Frank Artiles, came under fire last night for using a racial slur in a heated conversation with two African-American colleagues. He reportedly cursed at and belittled Fort Lauderdale senators Perry Thurston and Audrey Gibson at the Tallahassee Governors Club.
Thurston, who spoke to local network CBS4, said: “It was about some bill and she (Senator Audrey Gibson of Jacksonville) said he cursed at her when I walked away. And I came back and he apologized, but in the midst of the conversation it turned to the leadership of the Republican Party and he referred to them as (N-word),” Thurston said.
Senator Artiles admitted to the Miami Herald that he allowed his temper to dictate his utterances and that he had apologized to one of the lawmakers. According to CBS4, Artiles also said he’d used the slur because “I’m from Hialeah.” Hialeah is the sixth-largest city in the state of Florida. It has the highest percentage of Cuban-American residents as well as one of the largest Spanish-speaking communities in the in the United States.
There are calls from state Democratic leaders for Artiles to step down and Senate President Joe Negron was made aware of the incident.
“I understand that President Negron is allowing Senator Artiles to formally apologize on the Senate floor tomorrow,” Senator Bill Galvano said. “Such comments cannot be repaired by a formal apology, but I trust that it is an appropriate step to be taken by the president and the Florida senate to handle this matter, and to ensure that this behavior is not tolerated and does not happen again.”
Galvano, who is expected to become Senate president after the 2018 elections added that Gibson “under no circumstances should ever have been spoken to in such a reprehensible manner.”
Negron issued a statement saying Artiles will apologize on the Florida Senate floor today.