The head of the NAACP Florida State Conference is calling for state Sen. Frank Artiles to step down.
The organization “stands fully behind the Florida Legislative Black Caucus … and several groups who have called for the resignation of Miami Senator Frank Artiles,” said Adora Obi Nweze, president of Florida’s National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
Artiles, a Cuban-American Republican from Miami-Dade County, made national news after he accosted Sen. Perry Thurston, a Fort Lauderdale Democrat, and Sen. Audrey Gibson, a Jacksonville Democrat, calling her a “b—h” and a “girl” in a dispute over legislation at a private club in Tallahassee Monday night. Thurston and Gibson are black.
Artiles also used a variation of the “N-word,” referring to her and to white Republicans who supported Joe Negron as Senate President. Artiles apologized on the Senate floor Wednesday.
Thurston has lodged a Senate rules complaint against Artiles seeking his expulsion. An investigative report by General Counsel Dawn Roberts is due next Tuesday.
“The racial slur, profane language and degrading tone used to members of the Florida Legislative Black Caucus—in particular, a black woman—has no place in our society,” Nweze said in a statement.
“In 2017, it’s unfortunate we still must remind everyone about the N-word and the negative impact it has had in the black community for many years,” she added.
“A public apology is not good enough … Do us a favor, take your racist language and racist actions and resign,” said Nweze, also a member of the NAACP’s National Board of Directors.