Judge wants ‘forgiveness and understanding’ after she’s caught on video calling suspect N-word

Judge wants ‘forgiveness and understanding’ after she’s caught on video calling suspect N-word
Image via City Court of Lafayette, Louisiana

Last weekend a Lafayette City Court judge and her family were the victims of a car burglary at their home. Police were called and the suspect was arrested. But, of course, that wasn’t the end of it.

Days later, Judge Michelle Odinet and her four children were captured on cellphone video watching security footage of the moment the suspected burglar was apprehended. And oh boy, did that family enjoy watching it. They whooped and hollered as they joyfully commented on the home surveillance video, calling the suspect, a Black man, a “roach” and using the N-word repeatedly.

“We have a n---—. It’s a n-----, like a roach,” a female’s voice can be heard saying while laughing.

Now Odinet is asking for “forgiveness and understanding.”

“My children and I were the victim [sic] of an armed burglary at our home. The police were called and the assailant was arrested. The incident shook me to my core and my mental state was fragile,” Odinet said in a statement Monday, The Acadiana Advocate reports.

According to the Daily Beast, the Lafayette Police Department confirmed to local media that an attempted burglary of a vehicle took place at Odinet’s home at around 2 a.m. Saturday.

But Lafayette Police Sgt. Paul Mouton told KLFY that the suspect—identified as Ronald Handy—did not have a weapon with him at the time of his arrest despite the fact that Courthouse Karen described the incident to police as an “armed burglary.”

Odinet added that she “was given a sedative at the time” and had “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. 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,” she said.

Odinet was elected to her position on Nov. 3, 2020. According to the website for the City Court of Lafayette, Louisiana, prior to being a judge, she worked as a prosecutor for both Orleans and Lafayette Parish District Attorneys offices, “where she prosecuted juvenile delinquencies and adult felonies ranging from theft and narcotics to rape and first-degree murder.“

Handy was charged with two counts of simple burglary and is being held on a $10,000 bond.

The sedative excuse and nonapology are not working as the judge had hoped for. And now the community is calling for her to lose her damn job—which she should.

“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,” Lafayette City Marshal Reggie Thomas said in a statement Tuesday.

“We will not tolerate bigotry from the bench. Fairness and impartiality cannot coexist with racism; Lafayette needs a new Judge,” Louisiana Democratic Party Chair Katie Bernhardt said in a press release demanding “Judge Odinet’s immediate resignation.”

On Monday, Lafayette NAACP chapter President Michael Toussain called for Odinet to resign.

Toussain’s letter reads in part:

“While we continue to strive to form the more perfect union there are still those who bare the mark of America’s original sin of racism. The recently reveal video is clear that Judge Michelle Odinet see people base on the color of their skin and she holds a firm belief they are no more than roaches, rats or lesser species than herself. Her quote “We got ——!” is the clearest expression of her heart in regards to respecting people of diverse racial backgrounds. If she had said “We got thieves” we would understand that, but the use of the word ——, clearly expresses that Judge Michelle Odinet places all black people in a position of inferiority and discontent. Her voice is remnant of the shouts at lynchings in years gone by and white mob’s mentality that is evident still today.”

Sen. Gerald Boudreaux called Odinet’s comments “reprehensible, offensive and unacceptable” from anyone serving as a judge, according to The Advocate, adding that he will officially petition the Judiciary Commission of Louisiana to investigate the ethical conduct and actions associated with the incident.

"We have struggled miserably to garner public support for our judicial system at every level in this country. The political landscape has become so toxic that the negative impact has been identified and evident from the United States Supreme Court to the Lafayette City Court,” Boudreaux said.

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