Michelle Odinet: Racist Louisiana judge resigns over calling burglar n-word in video

'I take full responsibility for the hurtful words I used,' Odinet wrote in her resignation letter to the chief justice of the Louisiana Supreme Court


                            Michelle Odinet: Racist Louisiana judge resigns over calling burglar n-word in video
Michelle Odinet and resigned after a video captured her repeated use of the n-word when suspect Ronald Handy attempted to break into her home (Lafayette City Court, Lafayette Parish Jail)
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After a video captured her repeatedly using the n-word when she and her family witnessed a Black robbery suspect attempting to break into her home, a Louisiana judge has resigned from her post. 

Michelle Odinet, 52, stepped down from her seat on the Lafayette City Court Friday just weeks after the video showing her use of racist language surfaced. "I take full responsibility for the hurtful words I used to describe the individual who burglarized the vehicles at my home," Odinet wrote in her resignation letter to the chief justice of the Louisiana Supreme Court. "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." Ronald Handy, 59, who is African-American, was arrested and charged with two counts of simple burglary. He is being held at Lafayette Parish Jail on a $10,000 bond. 

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Did Odinet use racist language?



 

The mother-of-four is heard making racist comments at her home in Bendel Gardens in Lafayette. The short clip, recorded on December 11, captured one of Odinet's children saying, "And mom’s yelling n****r, n****r," to which a female voice responds "We have a n****r. It’s a n****r, like a roach." The Republican judge has since come under fire with local officials and members of the community calling on her to resign.

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Odinet was seen with her family laughing as they watched the footage with other members making similar racist comments and using other profanity. At the time, Odinet claimed she had taken a sedative when the video had been recorded. She does not remember the comments that she made. "My children and I were the victim of an armed burglary at our home," she told The Current. "The police were called and the assailant was arrested. The incident shook me to my core and my mental state was fragile. 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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Her excuses have not swayed critics who say she should be removed from the bench. "As a proud Black man, and the Lafayette City Marshal, I strongly believe Judge Odinet should be held accountable," Lafayette City Marshall Reggie Thomas told the Acadiana Advocate. "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. It is up to Judge Odinet to remember the oath she took, and should she remain on the bench, find a way to gain back the trust of 'all' of Lafayette, especially African Americans. A mere ineffectual and weak apology will not suffice."

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