July 11, 2019

A couple in Georgia faces a lawsuit for allegedly evicting a white tenant over her having African American guests at her rented house.

The American Civil Liberties Union filed the suit Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Georgia's Northern District over Patricia and Allen McCoy's eviction of Victoria Sutton from the home she was renting in Bartow County, northwest of Atlanta.

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During an eviction hearing Oct. 4, 2018, Patricia McCoy told a judge that Sutton had damaged the property, but Sutton presented photos that proved she hadn't, the lawsuit says. The judge ordered that the McCoys present Sutton with a written letter of intent for eviction, which would give her and her family two months to move out.

Sutton received the letter Oct. 16 and moved out in December. During the two-month interim, while Sutton was still moving her things out of the home, the McCoys went into the house and threw out everything that was still in there, including valuables and family memorabilia, the lawsuit alleges. The suit says Sutton feared for the safety of her family as she was trying to move them out of the house.

Sutton is suing for compensatory damages, including for emotional distress. The lawsuit claims that her 9-year-old daughter, who has learning disabilities, suffered from having to switch schools and "had difficulty receiving the specialized educational services she received at her prior school."

The ACLU said the McCoys, who own multiple rental properties, violated federal and state fair housing and civil rights laws.

“This case is a clear reminder that the pervasive and insidious racism that led to the passage of the Fair Housing Act more than 50 years ago persists to this day,” Brian Corman, an attorney representing Sutton said in a statement. “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.”

The full article can be viewed here.