Maryland delegate loses leadership post over racial slur

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Maryland’s House speaker has removed a white lawmaker from a leadership position for using a racial slur for black people.

House Speaker Michael Busch announced Tuesday he has removed Del. Mary Ann Lisanti as chair of a subcommittee. Lisanti, a Democrat from Harford County, told reporters she would issue a statement later in the day.

She apologized to the House Democratic Caucus Tuesday morning, after apologizing to leaders of the state’s Legislative Black Caucus on Monday.

In a letter to Busch Tuesday, Del. Darryl Barnes, the chair of the black caucus, called Lisanti’s words “a blatant act of racism” and, referring to Black History Month, said they came at “a time where we should be recognizing achievements in the African-American community.”

While acknowledging Lisanti’s apology, Barnes said the caucus felt “as though her apology is woefully inadequate” and that her use of the slur shows that she cannot “be entrusted in a leadership role moving forward.” He called for swift discipline and sensitivity training for Lisanti.

The speaker said Lisanti has agreed to take sensitivity training.

The Washington Post reported Monday that Lisanti allegedly used the slur to refer to Prince George’s County during an after-hours gathering at an Annapolis cigar bar. She told the Post earlier this month that she didn’t recall using the slur, but was “sure everyone has used it.”

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