/  12.31.2021

A Louisiana judge has resigned after a video surfaced of her calling a Black man a “nigger” and a “roach.”

On Friday (Dec. 31), Michelle Odinet issued her resignation letter to Louisiana Supreme Court Chief Justice John Weimer. “I take full responsibility for the hurtful words I used to describe the individual who burglarized the vehicles at my home,” she wrote. “I am sorry for the pain that I have caused my community and ask for your forgiveness, as my words did not foster the public’s confidence and integrity for the judiciary.”

As REVOLT previously reported, a little over two weeks ago, a video clip surfaced of Odinet and her family watching a home video of a suspected car burglary in their driveway. “And mom’s yelling nigger, nigger,” a man’s voice said on the video. Then, a female voice — which was identified as the former judge — said, “We have a nigger. It’s a nigger, like a roach.”

Following backlash from the footage, Odinet told local news outlets that she had “zero recollection” of the conversation being filmed and was under the influence of a sedative at the time of the incident. She also said she was “deeply sorry” and asked for “forgiveness and understanding” as she and her family dealt with the aftermath of the burglary.

However, several people called for the judge to step down, including Michael Toussaint, president of the Lafayette chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). He said that “hate, in any form, cannot stand and must be condemned.”

Subsequently, the Louisiana Supreme Court suspended Odinet as the investigation into the racist tape continued. The Court stated that she was “disqualified from exercising judicial functions, without salary, during the pendency of further proceedings.”

Judge Vanessa Harris replaced Odinet following her suspension, making her the first Black judge to be appointed to Louisiana’s Lafayette City Court.


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