Medley mayor meets with local NAACP president to discuss blackface photo

'I didn't know I was doing something wrong,' Mayor Roberto Martell says

MEDLEY, Fla. – The NAACP met with the the mayor of Medley on Monday after a photograph of him posing with a man in blackface came to light.

Mayor Roberto Martell spoke to Local 10 News about the photo, which was taken at an event held by the Medley Police Department. 

"In reality, I didn't know I was doing something wrong in the eyes of the people," Martell said. "We were trying to promote an Africa safari so, when I saw him dressed like that, I thought it was appropriate. I didn't see it because I didn't know the background."

The mayor said he was unaware, up until now, of the history surrounding blackface. 

"I'm glad Mr. Ruban taught me the background and trust me, never, never again will it happen," Martell said.

Martell held a closed-door meeting with Ruban Roberts, Miami-Dade County's NAACP president. Martell said they discussed blackface and how it's used to perpetuate racial stereotypes, depicting black people in a derogatory way. 

They also began working on a plan which will include cultural sensitivity training for all staff at Medley City Hall and the police department, to prevent issues such as this one from happening in the future. 

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