ATLANTA – Today, the ACLU of Georgia and Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC filed a lawsuit against a landlord for evicting Victoria Sutton, who is white, because she invited an African-American family to her home. According to the lawsuit, the landlord told Ms. Sutton the following in a tape-recorded conversation.
“I don’t put up with n------ in my [house] and I don’t want them in my property.”
“Maybe you like black dogs, but I don’t. So just get your stuff and get out.”
“I don’t allow n------ in my property and everybody knows that … Get out as quick as you can.”
The lawsuit asserts that the landlord threatened to call the police and Child Protective Services and to harm Ms. Sutton physically if she attempted to contest the eviction.
Under the federal Civil Rights Act, the federal Fair Housing Act and the Georgia Fair Housing Act, landlords are prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, be it for their tenants or their tenants’ guests.
“This blatant racial discrimination happened to be caught on tape,” said Sean J. Young, Legal Director of the ACLU of Georgia. “However, people of color face discrimination in all walks of life even when racist motives are more carefully hidden.”
“This case is a clear reminder that the pervasive and insidious racism that lead to the passage of the Fair Housing Act more than fifty years ago persists to this day,” said Brian Corman, an attorney with Cohen Milstein. “America thrives when people of all races and backgrounds are able to live in their communities without fear that they will be thrown out of their homes because of their race or the race of those with whom they associate.”