Florida state Sen. Frank Artiles steps down over racist remarks

By Amy R. Connolly  |  April 22, 2017 at 8:42 AM
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April 22 (UPI) -- A Florida state senator who used a racial slur and expletive-laced language during drinks with other lawmakers resigned Friday.

State Sen. Frank Artiles, a Republican from Miami-Dade County, apologized after the Tuesday event,, but the state's Democratic Party and members of the Florida Legislative Black Caucus said the apology was not enough.

"It is clear to me my recent actions and words that I spoke fell far short of what I expect for myself, and for this I am very sorry. I apologize to my family and friends and I apologize to all of my fellow Senators and lawmakers. To the people of my district and all of Miami-Dade, I am sorry I have let you down and ask for your forgiveness," he said in his resignation letter. "It's clear there are consequences to every action, and in this area, I will need time for personal reflection and growth."

The incident occurred on Monday night during a conversation at the Governor's Club in Tallahassee. State Sens. Audrey Gibson and Perry Thurston, both Democrats who are black, told the Miami Herald Artiles used expletives and racial slurs in reference to Gibson. Thurston asked Artiles to clarify if he had used the racial slur and Artiles said he used only a derivative of the slur. Gibson and Thurston said Artiles also used a slur to describe the black senators who supported Senate President Joe Negron.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott denounced Artiles comments, saying "If he worked for me and for the private sector and he said those things, I would have immediately fired him. You should not talk derogatory about people like that. There should not be any racist comments."

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