Making Unique Observations in a Very Cluttered World

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Pennsylvania Renters fear eviction over 911 calls - eviction if they call 911 three times -

Pennsylvania Renters fear eviction over 911 calls - eviction if they call 911 three times - 

Last summer, Lakisha Briggs' ex-boyfriend, who was living with her, allegedly smashed an ashtray across her face, then stabbed her in the neck with the broken glass. She was airlifted to a Philadelphia hospital.
Briggs had let him move in after a jail stint for a previous attack because she'd been afraid to call police when he showed up at her door. Not necessarily because of the threat of violence, but because one more call to 911 and Briggs knew she would lose her home, a tidy row house she rented in Norristown for herself and her 3-year-old daughter.
Norristown has what's called a three strikes law, which threatens renters with eviction if they call 911 three times within four months. Their landlords lose their rental license under the ordinance, which is designed to promote safe neighborhoods in the gritty suburb.
"Every strike has a chilling effect on whether you're going to make that outreach (to police) ... and incur that strike," said lawyer Sandra Park of the American Civil Liberties Union's Women's Rights Project in New York.
Park has been monitoring similar laws around the country, which are often aimed at addressing drug activity or reducing nuisance calls to 911. The ACLU filed a test case on behalf of Briggs that challenges the constitutionality of such ordinances. Federal court arguments are set for this month in Philadelphia.
"I felt like I was being punished for being assaulted," Briggs, a 34-year-old nursing assistant, said Friday.


1 comment:

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