Residents ask that De Leon step down

BROWNSVILLE — Several members of the community are asking Brownsville City Commissioner Cesar De Leon to resign from his seat on the city commission after he was heard on audio recordings using racial slurs against two assistant district attorneys.

On the recordings released last week on social media, De Leon can be heard using the F-word and the N-word to describe two black female assistant district attorneys who work for Cameron County District Attorney Luis V. Saenz.

Mary Helen Flores, founder of Citizens Against Voter Abuse, is organizing a protest to take place at 5 p.m. Oct. 3 at Brownsville City Hall, where protestors will ask for De Leon to resign.

“I don’t think that you can edit something to make someone sound that bad,” Flores said. “His sentences were not split up. Those sentences were complete sentences. It doesn’t really matter what context they were spoken in, the fact of what he said was not acceptable. Not for a public official.”

Flores said every public official should denounce what De Leon said in the tapes.

“Down here in Brownsville, it is very hard to get a large group together to speak against an issue like this, because so many people work for the school district, so many people work for the city, so many people work for the county, and none of those people are able to say how they feel in public because of work retaliation,” Flores said.

Several petitions demanding that De Leon resign have surfaced online as well. One of the petitions can be found at and has received 42 signatures so far.

“There are a couple of (F-word and N-word) that Luis Saenz is getting, and I don’t know where he is getting them from,” De Leon is recorded saying. “They are coming down to my (F-word) city and now they are trying to (F-word) put everybody in jail because they think we are a bunch of Mexicans that hit our wives, which couldn’t be further from the (F-word) truth, but that is how they see us.

“They are (F-word) … and I would say this, that I would never dare use that word, but you know what, yes, there are a couple of (N-word) in there that think that all of us are (F-word) taco eaters,” De Leon said.

De Leon, also a Brownsville attorney, also is heard speaking derogatorily about his fellow city commissioners in the audio segments shared on social media.

In the audio recording, De Leon called District 1 Commissioner Ricardo Longoria a “rata,” Spanish for “rat;” he referred to District 2 Commissioner Jessica Tetreau in Spanish as a woman who beats her husband; and he called former District 3 Commissioner Deborah Portillo a “muerta de hambre,” or a nobody. The audio captures De Leon accusing Mayor Tony Martinez of giving jobs to his friends and At-Large “B” Commissioner Rose Gowen of turning a blind eye.