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Florida lawmaker resigns after racist tirade

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A state senator in Florida resigned on Friday after launching into a racist tirade in a bar against two black fellow lawmakers that left him mired in scandal and embarrassed his Republican party.

[MIAMI] A state senator in Florida resigned on Friday after launching into a racist tirade in a bar against two black fellow lawmakers that left him mired in scandal and embarrassed his Republican party.

Frank Artiles, 43, apologised in his resignation letter, saying: "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."

The incident occurred in a posh bar late Monday in the state capital Tallahassee, when Mr Artiles, a white Cuban-American who was apparently drunk at the time, used the word "n*****s" in front of two black senatorial colleagues, one male and one female.

He also called one of them a "b***h" and used other obscenities, according to local media.

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After trying to brave out the backlash and hiring a lawyer to defend him, Mr Artiles said in his letter that "it's clear there are consequences to every action, and in this area, I will need time for personal reflection and growth." "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.

"I am responsible and I am accountable."

Florida's Republican Senate President Joe Negron - who is white and, although was not in the bar, was allegedly called a "pussy" by Mr Artiles - said he was "appalled" by Mr Artiles' "offensive and reprehensible manner." "Racial slurs and profane, sexist insults have no place in conversation between senators and will not be tolerated while I am serving as senate president," he said.

AFP

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