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16 Dec, 2021 14:55

Judge to take unpaid leave over family's comments

Judge to take unpaid leave over family's comments

A judge in Louisiana is taking a leave of absence after a video was leaked of people using racial slurs inside her house. The video was reportedly filmed shortly after a foiled burglary attempt.

Lafayette City Court Judge Michelle Odinet is taking “interim leave without pay,” her lawyer, Dane Ciolino, told the media on Thursday.

“She is humiliated, embarrassed and sorry for what she’s done and the trouble she’s caused to the community,” Ciolino said.The judge has faced criticism and calls to step down since a video emerged of people casually using racist slurs at her home.

A burglar broke into two cars parked at Odinet’s driveway early Saturday morning, but was “quickly caught by the victim,” according to a police report, cited in the media. The suspect, a 59-year-old black man, was arrested and is currently being kept in Lafayette Parish jail on a $10,000 bond, police said.

In a video uploaded on social media, several people can be heard repeatedly saying “n***er” and laughing as they appear to watch security camera footage of the attempted burglary. It is not clear who used the slurs. A person heard in the video also appeared to have compared the suspect to a “roach.”

Odinet said at the time that her mental state was “fragile” due to the burglary. “I was a wreck and am still unable to sleep,” she said.

The judge claimed that she was given “a sedative” at the time the video was filmed. “I have zero recollection of the video and the disturbing language used during it,” Odinet said. “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.”

Michael Toussaint, the president of Lafayette’s NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) chapter, called for Odinet’s “immediate and uncompromising resignation.”