The landlords of a north Georgia home are accused of evicting a white tenant for having her black co-worker and his 5-year-old son over to her home, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday by the American Civil Liberties Union.
The woman, Victoria Sutton, says in the federal discrimination suit that her landlords, Allen and Patricia McCoy, used racial slurs and physically threatened her, including by telling her she had to move out of the Adairsville, Georgia, home.
“Maybe you like black dogs, but I don’t. So just get your stuff and get out,” Patricia McCoy allegedly said in a conversation Sutton claims she recorded. The lawsuit also details multiple alleged uses of the N-word by both McCoys, and a physical threat from Patricia McCoy to “stomp the shit out” of Sutton.
The suit alleges Sutton was given an eviction notice in October and ultimately left in December out of concern for her family’s safety.
The McCoys denied all allegations to WSB-TV’s Nicole Carr. “Some of the best friends I got is colored,” Allen McCoy said.
“If the allegations of this lawsuit prove true, then it provides a window into the types of pernicious racial discrimination that continues to this day,” Sean Young, legal director of the ACLU of Georgia and an attorney on the case, told HuffPost.
Sutton is also represented by attorneys from the law firm Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC.
See the lawsuit below (story continues after):
Sutton’s complaint says she began inviting her co-worker and his son over to her home beginning in September 2018 for play dates with her children. But in late September, the suit alleges, Sutton received a knock on her door from her landlord, Allen McCoy.
McCoy allegedly used the N-word multiple times and threatened to arrest Sutton’s co-worker if he came over again. He also threatened to call Child Protective Services and gave Sutton two weeks to move out, she says.
Sutton claims to have recorded a subsequent call with Patricia McCoy, during which McCoy allegedly made a physical threat and said, “I don’t want them in my property,” referring to black people.
McCoy allegedly threatened to double Sutton’s rent before saying she would give her an eviction notice.
Sutton says that notice came the next day, on Oct. 1, 2018. At an eviction hearing, the McCoys claimed Sutton had damaged the property, though Sutton provided pictures that she said showed otherwise.
The McCoys told media outlets, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, that the eviction was the result of property damage.
“We believe that those statements are entirely false in light of the recorded statements made by Ms. McCoy that the only reason that she was evicting Ms. Sutton and her family was because she had invited an African American family to her home,” Brian Corman, a Cohen Milstein attorney representing Sutton, told HuffPost.
“There’s almost always a pretext given for racial discrimination,” Young said.
After being given a 60-day notice in mid-October, Sutton moved out in December 2018. Sutton says she “experienced extreme emotional distress” over fears for her family’s safety.
“Housing discrimination is one of the most pernicious forms of racism because it impacts access to education, health care and city services.” Young said.
The lawsuit is claiming violations of the Civil Rights Act, the federal Fair Housing Act and the Georgia Fair Housing Act.
“This case is yet another instance that we are witnessing barefaced racial animus in this country,” Corman told HuffPost. “It just so happens that this instance was caught on tape.”