‘The sad reality of African Americans’ Local civil rights groups speak out after police union calls on judge to resign

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) – The Clark County Black Caucus joins the Las Vegas chapters of the NAACP and ACLU in speaking out after the Las Vegas Police Protective Association (LVPPA), the union that represents department officers of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police, calls for a judge to resign.

On July 11, Clark County District Court Judge Erika Ballou was addressing a defendant when she made comments about police relations with African Americans.

“You’re the one who makes the decision not to walk away from the cops. You are a black man in America. You know you don’t want to be anywhere the cops are,” Judge Ballou said. “You know you don’t want to be anywhere the cops are because I know you’re not, and I’m a middle-aged middle-class black woman. I don’t want to be where the cops are because I don’t know if I’m going to make it out alive or not.

A video circulated of Judge Ballou making the comments which prompted the LVPPA to ask her to resign from the bench and an ethics investigation against her.

These recent reports of judicial misconduct have prompted local civil rights organizations, the Clark County Black Caucus and the Las Vegas chapters of the NAACP and ACLU, to speak out and issue statements of support for the Judge Ballou.

Judge Ballou’s statements reflect the grim reality for African Americans in the United States and in Clark County. His statements reflect not only his truths, but those of the black community, which suffers disproportionately as victims of police killings.

Roxann McCoy, President of the NAACP Las Vegas Chapter

It is common practice in black households to educate and caution your children about interacting with law enforcement and, where possible, to avoid contact for fear of being profiled, accosted, harassed or worse; and with directions on how to get around the police to get you where you’re going. I believe that Justice Ballou’s advice was expressed from this cautious and non-disparaging view of the fair and equitable application of the law when practiced.

Yvette Williams, chair of the Clark County Black Committee

Judge Ballou’s statements were not “anti-police” and reflected the candor, honesty and authenticity we need from judges. Her statements were made to reduce the confrontation between the individual who appeared before her as an accused and the police. We should all wish for fewer confrontations of this nature. Judge Ballou’s critics would have been more thoughtful in using this as an opportunity for collaboration and restoring trust between police and communities of color, which remain highly strained, instead of trying to get her off the bench.

Athar Haseebullah, Executive Director of the ACLU of Nevada

In the NAACP statement and statement of support, the civil rights organizations reference the 2021 report on police violence which states that while African Americans make up about 13% of the population of the United States, they represent 28% of victims of murder by the police.

We welcome opportunities to speak with law enforcement and the justice system in Nevada about concerns about racial bias, disparity, violence and we continue to actively participate in public policy reforms that result in the racial equality, justice and access. We invite the LVPPA and any other law enforcement organization to continue discussions that advance these goals within our community, including building cultural competency and understanding both on the bench and on the streets. from 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 do so, making national headlines.