A Louisiana judge is taking an unpaid leave of absence and is facing growing calls for her resignation after a video surfaced of people in her home using racist language, including the N-word.
Dan Ciolino, an attorney for Lafayette city court judge Michelle Odinet, gesê she feels “humiliated, embarrassed, and sorry for what she has done and the harm she has caused to the community”.
Ciolino added: “What happens in the long term is something she is going to think about in the weeks to come.”
The video, which has been shared widely across social media, was recorded after a burglary attempt at Odinet’s home last Saturday. An unnamed person allegedly saw a suspect leave one of the family’s vehicles. According to local news outlet the Current, the suspect attempted to run but was quickly caught and held until police arrived.
The video, in which people inside Odinet’s home could be heard discussing a home security video of the suspect’s capture, features a man who is heard using the racial slur, to which a female voice responds using the same slur and likening the person to “a roach”.
According to Ciolino, Odinet’s voice “appears at some point” on the video but declined to say what she said and who else may have been heard speaking.
It is not clear who shot the video or how it came to be released.
In 'n verklaring to the Current, Odinet said the burglary “shook me to my core and my mental state was fragile”. She went on to add that she was given a sedative at the time of the video and thus has “zero recollection of the video and the disturbing language used during it”.
“Anyone who knows me and my husband knows this is contrary to the way we live our lives," sy het gese, byvoeging: “I am deeply sorry and ask for your forgiveness and understanding as my family and I deal with the emotional aftermath of this armed burglary.”
The video has drawn swift condemnation from civil rights organizations and local defense attorneys.
In a statement from the Lafayette chapter of the NAACP, President Michael Toussain gesê: “The recently reveal[ed] video is clear that Judge Michelle Odinet see people base on the color of their skin and she holds a firm belief they are no more than roaches, rats or lesser species than herself.
“Her voice is remnant of the shouts at lynchings in years gone by and white mob’s mentality that is evident still today," hy het bygevoeg.
Lafayette criminal defense attorney Barry Sallinger geroep for Odinet to recuse herself from one of his cases involving a Black defendant, sê: “Judge Odinet has unequivocally, by her own words, shown that she is prejudiced and biased against African Americans.
“Her free and flippant use of a vile, derogatory term to describe an African American man can result in no other conclusion.”