BATON ROUGE — A Baton Rouge woman has reportedly filed a complaint against a judge who allegedly used racial slurs about her.
Kaneitra Johnson said that Baton Rouge District Court Judge Mike
Erwin called her a “n---” at least twice during an argument on
Feb. 3 at Sammy’s Grill. According to several news reports
including in The
Advocate, Johnson — in a widely-shared Facebook post that has
deleted — alleged that Erwin told the man she had been speaking
with, “You never give up your seat for a n---,” then a moment
later, “You should have made her get her fat n--- a-- up.”
Though Johnson has
appeared in Erwin’s court in the past, she claimed she did not
recognize the judge.
On Feb. 13, Johnson said during a news conference at the district
courthouse in Baton Rouge that she filed a complaint against Erwin
with the Judiciary Commission of Louisiana, The Advocate reported.
report released Feb. 14 by the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s
Office indicates that no witnesses corroborated Johnson’s version
of events. Nevertheless, restaurant representatives have confirmed
that the judge has been banned from Sammy’s Grill.
For some of the black community leaders urging an investigation,
this banishment implies at least some degree of guilt.
“Because Judge Erwin was thrown out of the restaurant and
banished would suggest that something inappropriate was done or
said,” Daniel Banguel, a community activist who has spoken out
about the case, told the Louisiana Record in an email. “Also,
because the judge has kept silent and not spoken about why he was
banished gives some validity to Ms. Johnson’s allegations.”
Even with the lack of corroboration by witnesses in the Sheriff’s
Office report, many community leaders believe an investigation is
“I do believe that any serious allegation by an elected official
should be investigated,” Banguel said. “I believe an
investigation should take place because our elected officials have to
be an example and role model for our community. Also, anyone who is
in office should be held accountable by their constituents.”
For his part, Erwin vehemently denies Johnson’s allegations. The
judge remained silent for several days after the event, then released
statement on Feb. 14, saying in part, “Now that the sheriff’s
department has issued their report — which does not find one single
witness that corroborates the original allegation — I can finally
defend my actions and my record as a judge.
“I never have, never would and never will utter the language I
was accused of saying.
“I have devoted my professional, legal and nearly 30-year
judicial career working to ensure that each and every person that
appears in my courtroom is treated equally under the law. I have
never wavered from this and I will continue to treat each and every
person equally and fairly.”
Erwin’s statement does little to satisfy those calling for an
“I have seen Judge Erwin’s statement, and because there isn’t
any proof regarding what he said, there isn’t really anything to go
on with he said, she said information,” Banguel said. “I would
like all witnesses that Ms. Johnson named who was there when the
alleged slur was said to be interviewed.”
Erin Rigsby, an attorney representing Johnson, did not reply to
requests for comment from the Louisiana Record.