Louisiana Judge Michelle Odinet Seen Using Racial Slurs In Home Video
Lafayette Circuit Court Judge Michelle Odinet is facing criticism after she was heard using racial slurs in the background of a home video following a break-in.
The video circulated widely on social media and shows a T.V. set in Odinet’s home filming security footage that appears to show the robbery suspect attempting to flee, before being apprehended by two others and held on the ground.
While no one is pictured directly, several people are heard using slurs in the video and one voice that is reported to be Odinet’s says “We have a n—er. It’s a n—er. Like a roach,” before laughing.
The Lafayette police have confirmed that 59-year old Ronald Handy, who is black, was arrested and charged on two counts of simple burglary. He is currently being held on a $10,000 bond.
Odinet told KLFY-TV that, “My children and I were the victims of an armed burglary at home.”
Lafayette Police Sgt. Paul Mouton confirmed that no weapon was found on Handy at the time of his arrest.
While Odinet didn’t identify who exactly was speaking in the statement, she addressed the racist language by saying that she has “zero recollection of the video and the disturbing language used during it.”
She claims to have taken a sedative at the time of recording, and asked for forgiveness.
Prominent black community members in Lafayette have condemned Odinet’s language and called for her to step down. Michael Toussaint, President the Lafayette chapter of the NAACP, released the following statement to news outlets:
“I have never met Judge Odinet, only heard her voice in campaign ads. But because she has confirmed that the video was in fact taken inside her home, one would think that as a sitting judge, a mother, a community leader, a person in a position of authority, that she would have stepped up and taken a stand against that type of language in her own home.”
Along with Toussaint, Odinet faced calls to resign from the Louisiana Legislative Black Caucus, and City Marshal Reggie Thomas, who called her apology “ineffectual and weak.”