Michelle M. Odinet: A Louisiana judge is on unpaid leave and pressured to resign after a racist home video surfaced


An attorney for the district court judge, Michelle M. Odinet, told the Acadiana Advocate she feels “humiliated, ashamed and sorry for what she has done and the damage she has done to the community.” and takes unpaid leave.

“What happens in the long term is something she will think about in the coming weeks,” said Dane Ciolino’s statement, who confirmed the details to CNN.

The video, which appears to show surveillance footage of an outdoor argument with a burglary suspect played on a television while people, who are not visible, watch and comment on the footage in racist language, was shared with local media in Lafayette and is now widely shared through social media.

Lafayette police said two vehicles were broken into in the driveway of a house around 2:00 a.m. Saturday, records show that it belonged to Odinet and her husband.

The suspect tried to flee on foot but was caught by the victim, who, according to police, was on his way home when they saw the suspect get out of one of the vehicles near the house. The victim held the suspect until officers arrived, police said.

In the video circulating online, a male voice can be heard saying, “And mommy screams n***er, n***er.” Then, after what appears to be jovial chatter, a female voice is heard saying, “We have a ***, it’s a ***, like a cockroach,” while laughing.

The group continues to talk back and forth, at one point laughing at someone in the surveillance video tripping and someone else losing their wallet.

Then a man’s voice can be heard saying, “That’s my phone where it dropped out.”

“That guy had a phone with him,” a woman’s voice sounds. “You should have taken his phone and stolen from him, that damn hole.”

“Go get the gun,” another voice says. “It’s important, very important,” a male voice says as the video continues.

Several calls for her resignation

It is not known who recorded the video from the home or how it became public.

Odinet had previously sent a statement to CNN affiliate KATC, saying she was “given a sedative” and “couldn’t remember the video and the disturbing language used.”

“My children and I were the victims of an armed break-in to our home. The police were called and the attacker was arrested. The incident shocked me to the core and my mental state was fragile. I was a wreck and still can’t “I was given a sedative at the time of the video. I can’t remember the video or the disturbing language used.”

The judge added: “Anyone who knows me and my husband knows that 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 have to deal with the emotional aftermath of this armed break-in. .”

The sentencing was swift. The head of the NAACP’s local branch said Odinet must resign immediately.

“We now call for her immediate and uncompromising resignation, failing which we demand prompt and immediate action by the Louisiana Supreme Court Judiciary Committee and remove her from office,” said Michael Toussaint, president of the Lafayette NAACP Chapter.

The appeal was echoed by the Louisiana Legislative Black Caucus, which said the judge had displayed “extreme racial bias and insensitivity.”

The mayor president of Lafayette’s consolidated government, Josh Guillory, said he was disgusted by the reports about Odinet. “This kind of language is hurtful, divisive and unacceptable,” he said in a statement. “The fairness and objectivity of our courts is the foundation of our justice system. I hope the judge will do what is best to help the community heal and move forward.”

City Marshal Reggie Thomas told KATC that the language in the video hurt his heart to the core. “I’m sure most people of color share my pain when the N word is used to describe us. That said, I’m sure people of color will find it impossible to trust that they are fair and equal. will be heard when they face Judge Odinet for judgment.”

Thomas, who noted that he was the first African American to be elected city-wide in Lafayette, said Odinet should be held accountable. “It’s up to Judge Odinet to remember the oath she took,” he said.

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