Reports: Florida senator used racial slurs to colleagues

File-This March 9, 2012, file photo shows Rep. Frank Artiles, R-Miami, asking a questions about a pip insurance bill during house session in Tallahassee, Fla. Artiles, who once hunted down a 9-foot Burmese python wants the state to pay private contractors to eradicate pythons and other invasive species from the Everglades. Artiles, who doubles as a python hunter, said during a committee meeting Tuesday, March 21, 2017, that the effort is needed because “furry creatures” and American alligator nests are being destroyed by the voracious snakes. (AP Photo/Steve Cannon, File)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — News reports say a Florida state senator used racial slurs and insults in a private after-hours conversation with African-American colleagues.

The reports Tuesday said Miami-area Republican Sen. Frank Artiles used a variation of the “n-word” in the conversation at Tallahassee’s Governor’s Club with Democratic Sens. Audrey Gibson of Jacksonville and Perry Thurston of Fort Lauderdale. They said Artiles also used obscene and belittling language directed at them in the Monday night conversation.

Gibson said it was the most disrespect she has ever encountered.

Artiles apologized Tuesday afternoon, after Senate President Joe Negron was told about the incident. Negron issued a statement saying the senators had resolved the matter.

Artiles, a former state House member, was elected to the Senate in November over former Democratic state Sen. Dwight Bullard, who is African-American.

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