THE INVESTIGATORS: Attorney accuses clerk of using a racial slur on recorded phone call
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Attorney Kendall Plain said he has never felt so attacked. Last month, while on a recorded call with a clerk for Justice of the Peace Tracy Batieste, he claims he was called the N-word.
“I was made to feel like nothing,” said Plain. “No matter what race you are ... black, white, Asian, or Indian, no one gets a pass on calling another person a racial slur.”
Plain said it has been a rocky relationship for months between his law firm and the office for the Justice of the Peace in Ward 2 District 3 or East Baton Rouge Parish but he added he never thought it would explode into racially insensitive outbursts.
LISTEN TO THE CALL BELOW:
During the brief recording, which lasts less than a minute, Plain is heard asking about a case. At one point, a man he identifies as the clerk, Marvin Anderson, interrupts him. Anderson is also an African American. When Plain asks if he can talk, the man on the other end screams, “No. I won’t let you talk n*****!”
Plain was asked what made him choose to record the call.
“In this world, you have to have evidence. You have to have proof of what’s being said, so I knew that I had to have some proof of what was going on in that office,” Plain replied.
Plain works with the Ward 2 District 3 Justice of the Peace to carry out evictions in EBR. He has to get someone from the Constable’s Office to come out and oversee those evictions. That process has to be approved through the Justice of the Peace.
Plain said he’s run into a number of problems with the office, including delays with carrying out those evictions. Once he brought the racial slur to the attention of the Justice of the Peace, he said Batieste told him they would no longer work with him.
In an email obtained by the 9News Investigators, the Justice of the Peace said as of April 8, she would recuse her office from any future cases with Plain’s firm.
“To tell someone, ‘I’m going to blanketly discriminate and not take any pleading from you no matter who’s in the pleading and no matter what party’s in the pleading,’ without looking in the four corners of the petition, you’re going to say, ‘I’m not going to take it.’ That’s blanket discrimination and that’s implicit bias,” Plain explained.
Now, Plain questions the timing of that decision, saying he was only banned from taking matters before the Justice of the Peace after he demanded something be done about the clerk that called him the N-word. Plain claims the Justice of the Peace was actually on the call and heard the racial slur herself.
Plain was also asked if anything had been done or if he had heard from the Justice of the Peace since he brought the matter to her attention.
“Absolutely nothing was done to that clerk. From what I understand, the clerk is still working in the office. The clerk is still responding to email. There’s been no taking of responsibility in the regard. There’s been no apology,” Plain answered.
When WAFB reached out to the Justice of the Peace about the allegations, she said to give her a call. When called, she said her office would not be responding to the claims. Plain said something needs to be done and he won’t give up until it’s made right.
“I feel like no one should have the authority of ability to call someone a racial slur. I never want anybody to feel how I felt on that day,” Plain noted.
WAFB did reach out to the man who allegedly used the racial slur. He said the case was being sent to the Judiciary Commission so he would not comment on the matter. A representative with the Judiciary Commission was not able to confirm or deny if it was looking into the matter when reached for comment.
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