Monroe Dispatch - No Struggle, No Progress

LA Judge's Racist Language

 

December 23, 2021



A Louisiana judge is in hot water for using racist language following the arrest of a Black man who was charged with an attempted burglary charge at the judge’s residence. Lafayette City Court Judge Michelle Odinet was among others in her home using the n-word as the Black man was being apprehended. At the time, the suspected burglary was captured by video with the voices of people inside the residence openly using the n-word, as Odinet was reportedly one of the individuals. Odinet would later confirm through her attorney that she indeed did use a racial slur when referring to what Black people have been called literally since the time they came off of the slave boats. News reports state that according to the video, that Odinet used the n-word without reservation, as another individual did the same. Who recorded the video and posted it on social media is unknown, but it is believed to be someone inside the judge’s home. Odinet reportedly was yelling, “n---,n---" while another voice said, “We have an n---, it’s n---, like a roach”.

Handy was not armed as had been stated, and he was held on a $10,000 bond. The judge apparently using the n-word seemingly without reservation stunned the community and caused an outrage among the Black community. It was especially troubling to African Americans because Odinet, as a judge, should have known the implications of what she said, even after Handy was apprehended and no harm was done to her family. Even more disturbing is the fact that the judge didn’t seem to mind that it’s ok to use racist language within her home. The judge has to hear pleas from African Americans, and in the eyes of perhaps many, they are just another n--- in her court and now home. In an equally stunning twist, the judge is using a line that we all have heard when one is trying to defend oneself in the face of overwhelming facts. The judge said that she “had no recollection” of the video or “what was said” because she had taken a sedative at the time the video was made. She would then apologize, saying that “people know” her character. In light of the video, perhaps people will see them differently. The judge is now suspended without pay, as her case is being investigated. There have been numerous outcries for her to step down voluntarily or be removed from the bench by the state. Judges are held to a high standard because they can have an impact on an individual’s life and that the only thing that should be before them are the facts to reach a fair conclusion and honest conclusion. Her use of the n-word in front of her family can only cast serious doubts if she can sit on the bench and honestly judge an individual based on the facts and not on the color of their skin. It looks like this time, the judge is the one begging for mercy, not the other way around.

 

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