LAS VEGAS (KLAS)– The Clark County Black Caucus joins the Las Vegas Chapters of the NAACP and ACLU, to speak up after the Las Vegas Police Protective Association (LVPPA), the union that represents Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department officers, calls for a judge to step down.
On July 11, Clark County District Court Judge Erika Ballou was addressing a defendant when she made comments about the relationship between police and African Americans.
“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.”
A video circulated of Judge Ballou making these comments which caused the LVPPA to call upon her to resign from the bench and for an ethics investigation against her.
These recent reports of judicial misconduct prompted local civil rights organizations, the Clark County Black Caucus, and the Las Vegas chapters of NAACP and ACLU, to speak up and issue statements of support for Judge Ballou.
Judge Ballou’s statements reflect the grim reality for African Americans in United States and in Clark County. Her statements reflect not only her truths but those of the Black community, that disproprtionately suffer as victims of police killings.Roxann McCoy, NAACP Las Vegas Chapter President
It is common practice in Black households to educate and caution your children about interaction with law enforcement, and whenever possible avoid contact for fear of being profiled, accosted, harassed, or worse; and with instructions to go around police to get where you’re going. I believe Judge Ballou’s advice was expressed from this cautious viewpoint and not disparaging to just and fair law enforcement when practiced.Yvette Williams, Clark County Black Caucus Chair
Judge Ballou’s statements weren’t “anti-police” and reflected the candor, honesty, and authenticity that we need from judges. Her statements were made to reduce confrontation between the individual who appeared before her as a defendant and the police. We should all want fewer confrontations of this nature. Critics of Judge Ballou would have been more thoughtful in using this as an opportunity to collaborate and restore confidence between police and communities of color, which remain very much strained, instead of trying to have her removed from the bench.Athar Haseebullah, ACLU of Nevada Excecutive Director
In the release and the NAACP statement of support, the civil rights organizations reference the 2021 Police Violence Report which states that while African American people make up about 13% of the United States population, they make up 28% of victims of police killings.
We’ve welcomed opportunities to discuss with law enforcement and Nevada’s judicial system about concerns of racial bias, disparities, violence and continue to be actively engaged in public policy reforms that result in racial equality, justice, and access. We invite the LVPPA and any other law enforcement organization to continue discussions that further these goals within our community, including achieving cultural competency and understanding both on the bench and in the streets of Las Vegas.Clark County Black Caucus, NAACP Las Vegas, ACLU of Nevada
In 2016, Judge Ballou refused to remove a Black Lives Matter pin after a judge ordered her to, making national headlines.