LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) – A Louisiana judge is under fire after a video recorded at her home containing the use of a racial slur surfaced following a foiled car break-in attempt.
The video was recorded after Lafayette City Court Judge Michelle Odinet said she and her family were victims of an armed burglary at their upscale Bendel Gardens home over the weekend.
Lafayette Police Sgt. Paul Mouton said Monday that responding officers, who arrested 59-year-old Ronald Handy in the incident, found no sign of a weapon. Handy has been charged with two counts of simple burglary and was being held Tuesday in the Lafayette Parish Jail on a $10,000 bond, police said.
It’s not yet clear who recorded the video or how it wound up on social media, but Odinet did confirm that it was from inside her home, according to Nexstar’s KLFY.
The video consists exclusively of security camera footage of the break-in attempt. In the video, a couple of voices can be heard using a racial slur while reacting to the footage. None of the people heard speaking can be seen in the video.
In a response to criticism over the recording of racist language, Odinet said: “I was given a sedative at the time of the video. I have zero recollection of the video and the disturbing language used during it.”
“Anyone who knows me and my husband, knows this is contrary to the way we live our lives,” she continued. “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.”
On Friday, several officials blasted the video, with some calling on Odinet to step down.
Lafayette Mayor-President Josh Guillory issued the following statement:
“I am disgusted and appalled by the recent reports involving a local judge. This type of language is hurtful, divisive, and unacceptable. The fairness and objectivity of our courts are the foundation of our legal system. It is my hope that the judge will do what is best to help the community heal and move forward.”LAFAYETTE MAYOR-PRESIDENT JOSH GUILLORY
The chair of the Louisiana Democratic Party is calling for Lafayette City Judge Michelle Odinet’s resignation in the wake of the racial slur video.
“We will not tolerate bigotry from the bench. Fairness and impartiality cannot coexist with racism; Lafayette needs a new Judge,” said Louisiana Democratic Party Chair Katie Bernhardt in a press release. “I call on Judge Odinet’s immediate resignation.”
Lafayette City Marshal Reggie Thomas said that an “ineffectual and weak apology would not suffice” for Odinet’s response to the video, and issued a lengthy statement that read, in part:
Before I was elected the first African American to a Citywide seat in the City of Lafayette, I was a proud black man. Even at this mature stage of my life, this language still hurts me to my core. I am certain that most people of color share my pain when the N word is used to describe us. With that being said, I’m sure that people of color will find it impossible to trust that they will be treated fairly and equally when they have to stand for judgment before Judge Odinet. This type of language cannot be accepted or tolerated by anyone, especially those who serve as leaders in our city.
I understand that a burglary was taken place, and that’s a strenuous circumstance. Nonetheless, it is during tough situations that our character is revealed. The usage of the N word to describe any individual is not only deplorable, it is revealing of racial prejudice, let alone from such an high representative of our judicial system.Lafayette City Marshal Reggie Thomas