The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Georgia has filed a lawsuit on behalf of a woman who says she was evicted from her home because she invited over a Black co-worker.
Victoria Sutton, a white mother of two who now lives in Calhoun, Georgia, claims she was evicted from her home in Adairsville because she invited a Black co-worker and the co-worker’s five-year-old son to her home for a play date in September 2018, according to the lawsuit filed by the ACLU on July 10.
As her co-worker was leaving the home, they hugged goodbye. A few hours later, one of the landlords, Allen McCoy, knocked on Sutton’s door and called her a “[racial slur] lover,” the lawsuit states. Allen, who owns multiple properties with his wife, Patricia McCoy, reportedly told Sutton “she should be ashamed of herself” and threatened to call Child Protective Services on her for inviting a “[racial expletive] on their property.”
“Mr. McCoy then told Ms. Sutton she had two weeks to move out. Mr. McCoy also relayed that he had previously rented the home to a different woman, and, when that woman attempted to allow an African-American man to move in, he evicted her from the home,” the lawsuit reads.
Sutton had been living in the home from August 2017 until December 2018. She begged Allen to allow her to stay and said she had nowhere else to go, but Allen responded by saying Sutton should have thought of that before she “brought that [racial expletive] around,” according to the lawsuit. He said Sutton should talk to his wife, Patricia McCoy, if she wanted to continue to live there and threatened to call the police and “have that [racial expletive] arrested if he comes on my property again.”
The lawsuit states that Sutton spoke with Patricia over the phone later that evening, where Patricia reportedly said, “I don’t put up with [racial expletive] in my [house] and I don’t want them in my property.” Sutton claimed she had a right to bring guests into her home, to which Patricia responded: “I don’t care… You just go ahead and get your ass out… You ain’t got no rights on the property.”
Patricia threatened to double Sutton’s rent, despite her consistency in paying the $475 rent on time each month. Sutton defended herself, saying she did not deserve this kind of treatment.
“Maybe you like black dogs, but I don’t. So just get your stuff and get out,” Patricia told Sutton, according to the lawsuit.
Sutton said she was served an eviction notice on October 1, 2018 and with a hearing in eviction court set for October 4. The McCoys claimed there was “destruction” to their property. A judge told the McCoys they could not evict Sutton until she was given a written letter of intent. Sutton received this letter on or around October 16 and was moved out by December 2018.
In an interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Patricia denied acting racist and said Sutton was not evicted because of her Black guest. She claims the property was filthy and damaged.
“It took me four months to get it back to where I could rent it out again,” Patricia told the publication. “I could sue her and make her replace all the stuff she tore up in there. It cost me $5,000 to get the house (back to normal).”
ACLU Georgia said in a statement that landlords are prohibited from racially discriminating against their tenants or their tenants’ guests under the federal Civil Rights Act, the federal Fair Housing Act, and the Georgia Fair Housing Act.
“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 representing Sutton, in the ACLU 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.”
About the Author
Maria Perez is a breaking news writer for The North Star. She has an M.A. in Urban Reporting from the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. She has been published in the various venues, including Newsweek, Juvenile Justice Information Exchange, City Limits, and local newspapers like The Wave and The Home Reporter.