This time the burden of proof is on the judge. He must attempt to undo the damage to his reputation and make the public believe that he is not a racist, despite allegations against him. Judge Mike Erwin is accused of calling Kaneitra Johnson, a black woman, a “fat n–ger” while visiting Sammy’s Grill restaurant and bar located in Baton Rouge, La.


(South Austin Gallery)

Officers had a difficult time finding other witnesses to corroborate the woman’s accusation of the racial slurs, so it is her word against his. Although one patron did mention to officers that he heard Erwin treat Johnson “like a dog,” the witness later recanted his statement claiming he was too far away to hear what was being said.


Other witnesses present at the time mentioned to officers that it was Johnson and the guest who is presumed to have been with her who were being “loud and aggressive.” Both Johnson and Erwin were just patrons at a restaurant to get refreshments, neither were there for a fight. However, Johnson claims she was insulted by Erwin when he repeatedly called her a “n-gger.”


Whether the allegations are true or not, Erwin now has a fight on his hands to defend himself against the people in the jurisdiction in which he has served for many years.  Johnson has gotten herself an attorney and intends to fight the matter in court. Erwin was silent and would not comment until after detectives issued their report not finding anyone to corroborate Johnson’s claims.


The judge said, “I never have, never would and never will utter the language I was accused of saying.” These are words the American public would like to believe. Yet, how does one defend himself against such allegations? Note, what he has not said: he has  not said he did not encounter this woman at the restaurant. He has not said he did not have an argument with her.


All Erwin has said is that since no one else agreed he called her a “n-gger,” then he must not have. That is like believing that just because there are no fingerprints at the crime scene, then no crime was committed. Interestingly enough, Erwin is no longer allowed to visit the Sammy’s Grill establishment at any of its locations. It does not seem to matter to the restaurant chain whether he said it or not. Erwin’s business will be refused.


Race relations in this country will never be healed if those who are racist will not admit to their ignorant racial tendencies. However, it also will not help if the public liberally throws around allegations accusing people in high positions of being racist who are not. It brings us to the question the late Rodney King asked many years ago, “Can’t we all just get along?”


Do you think the restaurant acted fairly in refusing the judge to continue patronizing them? Let’s discuss here or on Twitter: @lcarterwriter.