UPDATE: The head of the commission which investigates judges in Nevada tells the 8 News Now I-Team that it is aware of reports about Judge Erika Ballou and any complaints received will be considered.
LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The Las Vegas Police Protective Association (LVPPA), the union which represents Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department officers, is calling for a judge to step down, as well as an ethics investigation.
This is after a video circulated of Clark County District Court Judge Erika Ballou making comments on the bench about police officers while addressing a defendant on July 11.
“You’re the one making the decisions not to walk away from cops. You’re a Black man in America. You know you don’t want to be nowhere where cops are,” Judge Ballou said. “You know you don’t want to be nowhere where cops are cause I know I don’t, and I’m a middle-aged, middle-class Black woman. I don’t want to be around where the cops are because I don’t know if I’m going to walk away alive or not.”
The Clark County District attorney’s office was seeking the revocation of the probation of the defendant who Judge Ballou was addressing. While on probation for a previous case, the defendant is accused of committing battery against an officer.
Judge Ballou told the defendant that even if the new case can be defended, he was on thin ice. “Even if the cop like came after and was harassing your group, you should have walked away instead of staying,” she said. “You needed to walk away because you knew you were on probation, you knew.”
Judge Ballou ruled that the defendant was in violation of probation. She revoked his probation and reduced his sentence. The original 24 to 60-month sentence is now 19 to 48 months.
The I-Team reached out to Judge Ballou for a comment. Through a District Court spokeswoman, she sent the following statement:
I support proper law enforcement. What the record shows, is that I communicate with those who appear before me in a manner that is straight-forward and understandable.spokesman for Erika Ballou, Clark County District Court judge
The LVPPA sent the I-Team the following statement:
On behalf of the men and women of law enforcement, the Las Vegas Police Protective Association takes exception to Judge Erika Ballou’s disparaging comments about police officers.
We call upon Judge Ballou to resign from the bench. We also ask the Judicial Ethics Commission to sanction her for violating the Nevada Code of Judicial Conduct.
Among other obligations, the rules require the judiciary to, “[A]spire at all times to conduct that ensures the greatest possible public confidence in their independence, impartiality, integrity, and competence.”
Judge Ballou has demonstrated that she is biased against law enforcement and cannot live up to the standards required of a jurist.
Judge Ballou’s comments, from the bench, that she, “does not want to be around where cops are because I don’t know whether I am going to walk away alive or not…” are both unethical and irresponsible. Police officers and the law abiding citizens of our community deserve better from the judiciary.The Las Vegas Police Protective Association
Judge Ballou took her position on the bench in January of 2021.
Her term runs through 2027. Previously, she was a public defender and social justice organizer.
She is a member of the Democratic Socialists of America, which supported her run for judge.
In 2016, Judge Ballou refused to remove a Black Lives Matter pin after a judge ordered her to. This made national headlines.
According to Transparent Nevada, a website that tracks public employees’ salaries, as a public defender in 2020, Ballou made a salary of more than $138K, while her total pay and benefits were more than $191K.