Mayor Booker’s statement

The YouTube of Newark Mayor Cory Booker making a controversial comment at a Summit fund-raiser in May had been in web circulation for a couple of months, according to the mayor’s staff.

This week, the issue came to the attention of the Newark City Council, and after viewing the YouTube at City Hall after Wednesday’s meeting, council members Donald Payne, Ron Rice, Jr., Dana Rone, Anibal Ramos and Luis Quintana condemned the mayor’s remarks.

Rice explained that the mayor’s caricaturing comments in a suburban setting in front of a white audience about a “portly” African-American woman with “no teeth” brought into question Booker’s judgement on this particular subject.

In response to Rice’s and the council’s criticisms, Booker issued the following statement:

“Today members of the Newark Municipal council have taken me to task for comments that I made about my good friend and staunch supporter the late Judy Diggs. Without further elaboration on the comments themselves I want to emphatically state that my words were in bad taste, I fully understand their offensive nature and I offer my profound apology.

“Under no circumstances would I intend to disparage Judy Diggs. She was one of the many Newarkers that struggled with me over the issues that are important to our people and our neighborhoods. Those struggles and her example helped to heighten my enthusiasm for public service. I count Judy Diggs among my mentors.

“I greatly admire and respect the work and legacy of Judy Diggs and want this to be clear to everyone. I have enjoyed a good and respectful relationship with Judy’s family for a long time and intend to meet with them immediately to personally express my regret over this matter.”

According to Councilman Quintana, the family of Judy Diggs wants the Booker administration to allow YouTube to post the video in the name of public information.

Update: The video of Booker’s speech was removed from YouTube on Wednesday, but reappeared on Friday after the Star-Ledger obtained it.

Mayor Booker’s statement