State District Judge Mike Erwin has been banned from Sammy's Grill, a popular local eatery and watering hole, after sheriff's deputies responded to an incident there Friday night during which a patron claimed he used a racial slur toward her.
Erwin, a Baton Rouge judge, was involved in an argument that prompted a disturbance call Friday night at the Highland Road restaurant to which deputies — including one already at the restaurant while working extra duty — responded, said Casey Rayborn Hicks, the sheriff's spokeswoman.
Hicks said one patron alleged Erwin directed a racial slur toward her during a disagreement.
The woman, Kaneitra Johnson, wrote in a widely shared Facebook post the next day that the judge at least twice called her "n****r" during an argument over a seat at the bar.
The Advocate spoke with Johnson, who confirmed she wrote the post.
Erwin didn't make himself available to a reporter for The Advocate on Tuesday or Wednesday, instead issuing a "no comment" through two different staff members.
Sheriff's deputies spoke with others at the restaurant who said they didn't hear the conversation and couldn't confirm that Erwin used the slur, Hicks said.
"There was a disagreement between patrons, but no arrests or criminal charges or anything," Hicks said.
A manager at Sammy's Grill, Andy McKay, said "we do not want Judge Erwin's business anymore," adding that staff had been notified by the restaurant's owner, Sammy Nagem, that "we are going to be refusing his business." McKay said he couldn't speak to what prompted the ban, and messages left for Nagem weren't immediately returned on Wednesday.
A sheriff's office report on the incident hadn't been filed as of noon on Wednesday. Hicks said deputies typically have up to seven business days to complete a report.
Court records indicate Erwin was assigned a 2010 traffic case against Johnson. In her Facebook post, she said she didn't recognize him at the restaurant or realize he was a judge until after speaking with deputies following the incident.
Erwin, 67, is the 19th Judicial District's most senior judge, elected to the bench in 1990. He was re-elected to a fifth six-year term in 2014.
Advocate staff writer Joe Gyan contributed to this report.