No Blind Justice in Vegas: NAACP Defends 'Woke' BLM Judge Amid Calls for Resignation

(AP Photo/John Locher)

On Tuesday, the Las Vegas chapter of the NAACP released a statement defending courtroom remarks made by Clark County District Court Judge Erika Ballou earlier this month. On July 11, Ballou told a defendant in her courtroom:


“You’re a Black man in America, you know you don’t want to be nowhere where cops are,” “… You listen to me, you know you don’t want to be nowhere where cops are. Because 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 defendant was in court because prosecutors were seeking to revoke his probation following an incident where he allegedly committed a battery upon a police officer. Ballou also had questionable advice for the defendant, saying that he should have “walked away.” It is unclear if the defendant even had a right to just walk away depending on the circumstance and the conditions of his probation. It is also unclear how allegedly committing battery upon officers increases your chances of “walking away alive.” But, giving weird advice isn’t what Ballou is facing scrutiny for: It’s ethics.

Demands for Ballou’s resignation came from Las Vegas Police Protective Association, the union for Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department officers. In a tweet, the union shared a video of Ballou calling her a “disgrace to the bench.” In a statement, the union also requested the “Judicial Ethics Commission to sanction her for violating the Nevada Code of Judicial Conduct.” The Judicial Ethics Commission cannot legally say if a complaint has been filed at this time.


Clark County’s current Sheriff and Republican Candidate for Governor, Joe Lombardo, also demanded Ballou’s resignation.

The Las Vegas NAACP chapter has defended Ballou’s anti-law enforcement comments saying that they “reflect the grim reality for African Americans” and touting them as “truths”:

“Her statements reflect not only her truths but also the community’s truth,”

This isn’t the first time Ballou has received backlash for her courtroom behavior. In 2016, as a deputy public defender, Ballou wore a Black Lives Matter pin in court where she was asked by then-District Court Judge Douglas Herndon — who now sits on the Nevada State Supreme Court — to remove the pin on the basis of it being political speech that isn’t in line with viewpoint-neutrality in the courtroom. Ballou reportedly admitted she knew wearing the pin would be controversial after the police union sent a letter to judges regarding BLM propaganda being espoused in courtrooms. Yes, the same union she is still at odds with, six years later. Ballou did oblige and eventually remove the pin but continued to wear a black armband along with her supporters in the audience.


It’s clear Judge Ballou doesn’t understand the concept of blind justice. She has long brought her views of race and activism into court, causing ethical issues while making splashy headlines. As those defending Ballou cherrypick the data and call subjectivity “her truth,” Las Vegas has not forgotten the effects of extreme and dangerous racial rhetoric. In the wake of the 2020 BLM protests, the community was left reeling when Las Vegas Metro Officer Shay Mikalonis was shot in the head, paralyzing him.  As Law and Order has become a theme of upcoming elections in Nevada, stirring up rhetoric is expected par for the course. But members of the judiciary should just walk away from bias and courtroom political commentaries.


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