Black Lafayette Judge Replaces Disgraced Judge Heard Hurling Racial Slurs In Viral Video; Young Man In Video Also Disciplined by LSU Track Team: ‘Never Tolerate Racism’

·3 min read

The Louisiana city court judge at the center of controversy after a video has officially taken an unpaid leave of absence after the surfacing of video footage filed with offensive language was recorded in her home.

However, she isn’t the only member of her family facing backlash for the now-viral clip.

Louisiana City Court Judge Michelle Odinet on unpaid leave amid racist video scandal. photo: screenshot / KLFY / Louisiana Supreme Court
Louisiana City Court Judge Michelle Odinet on unpaid leave amid racist video scandal. photo: screenshot / KLFY / Louisiana Supreme Court

Dane Ciolino, an attorney for Lafayette City Court Judge Michelle M. Odinet, told CNN that one of the voices heard on the tape was the judge and that she used a racial slur.

“What happens in the long term is something she is going to think about in the weeks to come,” Ciolino said in a phone statement to the outlet. “I am going to call the Judiciary Commission, and we are going to file the motion. She intends to start a period leave without pay.”

The Lafayette judge has since been replaced by Judge Vanessa Harris, a retired St. Landry Parish assistant district attorney and Opelousas city court judge. Harris also makes history as the city’s first Black judge.

The news station stated the former assistant district attorney will serve either until Odinet returns to the bench or an election is held, should she be removed from office.

While Odinet dealt with the fallout from her behavior, including the call for her resignation, her son Elijah Odinet also apparently appeared in the video.

He has subsequently been kicked off his school’s track and field team. In a statement to their social media page, Louisiana State University wrote that it “will never tolerate racism, and we will continue to do our part in the ongoing work toward its eradication — through educating ourselves, engaging with our community, and honoring the distinctions that empower us.”

The judge has two other children on the team, both of whom were still listed on the LSU track roster as of Thursday afternoon, Dec. 16.

As previously reported, Odinet made headlines after video footage taken at her home surfaced, during which she and another male voice — heard answering to “Eli” and thought to be Elijah Odinet — could be heard laughing and using the N-word as they watched video of a burglary attempt at their residence.

Odinet initially said her family were the victims of an “armed burglary,” although police could not find a weapon on the suspect.

“Mom’s yelling, n—–, n—–,” a male voice said, recounting the incident while watching the video. “We have a n—–. It’s a n—–, like a roach,” a female voice added.

Odinet claimed she had taken a sedative and didn’t recall the incident. “I have zero recollection of the video and the disturbing language used during it,” she said at the time.

“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.”

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