Lafayette City Court Judge Michelle Odinet has been placed on unpaid leave after uttering a racial slur in a viral video. Odinet used the “n-word” after a black suspect attempted to rob her family.
The video shows Odinet and members of her family watching a security video of the moment two of them wrestled 59-year-old Robert Handy to the ground in their driveway after he allegedly tried to break into one of their cars early Saturday.
“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,” reads a police report on the attempted break-in.
Odinet released a statement saying she was on sedatives while the slur was uttered in a video recorded after the incident. She also said that she was shaken from the robbery attempt and issued an apology.
Warning: Explicit language is used in this video
Here is Louisiana Judge Michelle Odinet using the N-word reviewing footage of a home invasion. Then compare them to a roach. She cannot be trusted to render judgement on any cases involving African Americans and all past cases must be reviewed. Period. Call 337-291-8023. pic.twitter.com/5JafckeGJl
— Reese Waters (@reesewaters) December 14, 2021
“I have zero recollection of the video and the disturbing language used during it,” Odinet told The Current.
“Anyone who knows me and my husband knows this is contrary to the way we live our lives.”
Still, the local NAACP is calling for her resignation, and Odinet is receiving scorn on social media from black activists who say her statements represent institutional racism.
“Judge Odinet, in that video, showed everyone how she deals with African Americans and people of color, and therefore she cannot be trusted to make decisions [on] behalf of the Black and brown community in the courtroom,” said local NAACP President Michael Toussaint.
“As a matter of fact, every decision that she has made to date concerning people of color should be rescinded.”
Black supremacist Jamele Hill elevated the conversation to the national level with by writing on Twitter, “::Whispers:: bad police officers aren’t the only ones who need to be held accountable and are complicit in creating a biased, unfair system. It’s judges, too.”
::whispers:: bad police officers aren’t the only ones who need to be held accountable and are complicit in creating a biased, unfair system. It’s judges, too. https://t.co/7RpHjGPuYs
— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) December 15, 2021