Louisiana judge captured on video using racial slurs to go on unpaid leave

·2 min read

A Louisiana judge is set to take an unpaid leave of absence after a video in which she used racial slurs went viral.

Lafayette City Court Judge Michelle Odinet has temporarily stepped down starting Thursday. Her lawyer Dane Ciolino told The Hill that she is "humiliated, embarrassed and sorry."

"She's going on interim leave without pay. And as far as what'll happen in the longer term, she'll have to deal with that in the weeks to come," Ciolino added.

In the video, Odinet and her family are discussing an attempted car burglary while watching home security footage of the incident.

The video, obtained by local Lafayette news website The Current, doesn't show any faces, but viewers can hear the voices of Odinet's family watching footage of the attempted burglary that took place in their driveway. In the video there are multiple voices and references to "mom," as well as racist language used in reference to the alleged burglar.

"And Mom's yelling n-----, n-----," says one male voice, to which another female voice responds, "We have a n-----, It's a n-----, like a roach."

Odinet told Current about the alleged armed burglary at her home very early Saturday morning, saying the incident was "horrific" and "shook [her] to the core."

In a statement Tuesday, Odinet confirmed that the video was recorded in her home but added that she had taken a sedative before and had "zero recollection of the video and the disturbing language used during it."

The police said that a 59-year-old Black man was arrested and charged with the burglary, according to The Associated Press.

The video has led to calls for Odinet's resignation from the community, including Gov. John Bel Edwards (D), the president of the Lafayette Chapter of the NAACP, Michael Toussaint, and the Louisiana Legislative Black Caucus.

When asked by a reporter if Odinet should resign, Edwards replied, "The answer is yes," KLFY reported.

He added that there is "no place for that kind of language among members of the judiciary" and that "Black litigants will likely continue to ask for her recusal from their cases," per the local news outlet.

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