A Louisiana judge has resigned after a video captured her repeated use of the n-word as she and her family watched surveillance footage of a black robbery suspect attempt to break into her home.
Michelle Odinet, 52, stepped down from her seat on the Lafayette City Court Friday just weeks after the video using the racist language surfaced.
‘I take full responsibility for the hurtful words I used to describe the individual who burglarized the vehicles at my home,’ Odinet wrote in her resignation letter to the chief justice of the Louisiana Supreme Court.
‘I am sorry for the pain that I have caused my community and ask for your forgiveness, as my words did not foster the public’s confidence and integrity for the judiciary,’ she added.
Odinet, a mother of four, is heard making racist comments at her home in Bendel Gardens in Lafayette early on December 11.
The short clip captured one of Odinet’s children saying ‘And mom’s yelling n****r, n****r,’ to which a female voice responds ‘We have a n****r. It’s a n****r, like a roach.’
The Republican judge has since come under fire for the racist slurs, with local officials and members of the community calling on her to resign.
Video footage captured the moment Republican Louisiana judge Michelle Odinet, 52, said the ‘n-word’ twice
The mother of four was watching security footage with her family of an attempted burglary that happened at their home on the morning of December 11
The suspect Ronald Handy, 59, was arrested and charged with two counts of simple burglary
The full video had shown Odinet and her family laughing as they watched the footage with other members making similar racist comments and spewing profanity.
Ronald Handy, 59, who is black, was arrested and charged with two counts of simple burglary and is being held at Lafayette Parish Jail on a $10,000 bond.
Handy was seen being taken down by two members of the Odinet family on the front lawn of their home during the attempted burglary.
At the time, Odinet claimed she had taken a sedative when the video had been recorded and does not remember the comments that she made.
‘My children and I were the victim of an armed burglary at our home,’ she told The Current.
‘The police were called and the assailant was arrested. The incident shook me to my core and my mental state was fragile.’
‘Anyone who knows me and my husband, knows this is contrary to the way we live our lives.
‘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.’
Handy, however, was not found with a weapon at the time of his arrest.
‘When the suspect observed the victim arrive, the suspect attempted to flee on foot but was quickly caught by the victim. Victim held the suspect down until officers arrived,’ the report by the Lafayette Police Department said.
State officials such as Lafayette City Marshall Reggie Thomas (left) and State Senator Gerald Boudreaux (right) have called for action to be taken against Odinet following her racist comments
Her excuses have not swayed critics that say she should removed from the bench.
‘As a proud black man, and the Lafayette City Marshal, I strongly believe Judge Odinet should be held accountable,’ Lafayette City Marshall Reggie Thomas told the Acadiana Advocate.
‘I’m sure that people of color will find it impossible to trust that they will be treated fairly and equally when they have to stand for judgment before Judge Odinet.
‘This type of language cannot be accepted or tolerated by anyone, especially those who serve as leaders in our city.
‘It is up to Judge Odinet to remember the oath she took, and should she remain on the bench, find a way to gain back the trust of ‘all’ of Lafayette, especially African Americans. A mere ineffectual and weak apology will not suffice.’
State Senator Gerald Boudreaux was also left disturbed by the comments and is working on conducting an investigation.
‘I respectfully request and will officially petition that the Judiciary Commission of Louisiana investigate the ethical conduct and actions associated with the recent developments,’ he said in a statement.
Alanah Odoms, the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana, also has called for an investigation into Odinet’s behavior.
‘This behavior calls into question Judge Odinet’s fitness to sit in judgement of Black defendants who appear before her court. Equal justice under the law means nothing if judges come to their duties viewing some people as subhuman,’ Odoms told the Daily Advertiser.
‘We condemn these remarks and the acceptance they received in Judge Odinet’s home.’
The Louisiana Supreme Court is the only body that can remove Odinet because she holds a position that can not be recalled by the public.
In order to be removed, an investigation must be made by the Judicial Commission, which can take months.
Odinet had been elected in November 2020 to the Division A seat at Lafayette City Court
Odinet had been elected in November 2020 after winning 57 percent of the vote against candidate Jules Edwards III.
She took over the Division A seat for Judge Francie Bouillion at Lafayette City Court.
She had previously worked as an assistant district attorney in New Orleans and Lafayette as well as well as a law firm where she handled insurance defense cases.
Since being elected, she has planned to start on a veterans court programs, working on financial assistance methods and creating cellphone lockers to keep them out of the courtroom.
New Orleans District Attorney Jason Williams has ordered a complete review of all cases handled by Odinet during her time as a prosecutor nearly 30 years ago.
Odinet, a member of a prominent New Orleans family of doctors, lawyers and philanthropists, served as a prosecutor and assistant district attorney in Orleans Parish in the 1990s under her maiden name, Michelle Miller.
Source: | This article originally belongs to Daily Mail