Louisiana judge caught on video saying N-word resigns
"I am sorry for the pain that I have caused my community and ask for your forgiveness," Michelle Odinet wrote in her resignation letter.
The Louisiana judge heard saying the N-word multiple times in a video that went viral on social media last month has officially quit her job.
Former Lafayette City Court judge Michelle Odinet‘s attorney Dane Ciolino submitted a resignation letter on her behalf to Louisiana Supreme Court Chief Justice John L. Weimer on Friday, according to a copy of the letter obtained by theGrio.
“After much reflection and prayer, and in order to facilitate healing within the community, I hereby
resign as judge of the Lafayette City Court effective immediately,” Odinet wrote. “I am sending a copy of this letter to the Secretary of State and hope that a special election can be scheduled to fill the vacancy that my resignation creates.”
Odinet’s lawyer expressed uncertainty on Saturday about whether or not his client still plans to practice law.
“She has not discussed her future plans with me,” Ciolino told theGrio via email.
A cell phone video of Odinet and some of her family members using the N-word to describe a Black man accused of trying to break into a vehicle in her driveway on Dec. 11 began circulating widely online the same weekend.
“And mom’s yelling ‘N****r! N****r!’” a male is heard saying during the video, to which a woman later identified as Odinet responded, “We have a n****r! It’s a n****r! Like a roach,” with a laugh.
The below video contains offensive language.
The former judge previously blamed a “sedative,” she said she took for the language she used in the video, which she said she had, “zero recollection of,” in a subsequent apology letter sent to reporters days later.
Her son Elijah Odinet was removed from Louisiana State University’s track team roster on Dec. 15. His mother took “full responsibility” for her actions in her resignation letter.
“I take full responsibility for the hurtful words I used to describe the individual who burglarized
the vehicles at my home,” Odinet wrote. “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.”
Critics began calling on Odinet to resign just days after the video hit the internet. The Louisiana Supreme Court chose Judge Vanessa Harris to temporarily replace Odinet as Judge Pro Tempore, making Harris the first African American to be appointed Lafayette City Court judge.
Some local leaders, including NAACP Lafayette chapter President Michael Toussaint, have called for every ruling Odinet has made involving Black and brown people in her courtroom to be overturned.
“Judge Odinet, in that video, showed everyone how she deals with African Americans and people of color, and therefore she cannot be trusted to make decisions [on] behalf of the Black and brown community in the courtroom,” Toussaint told KLFY on Dec. 15. “Every decision that she has made to date concerning people of color should be rescinded.”
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