The city of Maplewood has been hit with a lawsuit alleging violations of the Fair Housing Act, according to the Riverfront Times.
Maplewood’s “chronic nuisance ordinance” effectively exiles households that have drawn two or more police calls — even if they’re the victims rather than perpetrators, the suit, filed by Metropolitan St. Louis Equal Housing and Opportunity Council charges. (Note: searching “chronic nuisance” in Maplewood’s online ordinances returns no exact matches.)
The city code “defines eligible ‘nuisances’ so broadly as to potentially include virtually any act that city officials do not like,” according to the suit, and says the ordinance targets black residents, effectively banishing them for conduct that white residents face no repercussions for.
Attorney Sasha Samberg-Champion of Relman, Dane & Colfax: “It is shocking and unacceptable that Maplewood enforces its nuisance ordinance to accomplish such discriminatory and heartless results. It is remarkable enough that Maplewood claims the power to banish people from the City who haven’t been convicted of any crimes. Unsurprisingly, that authority has been abused. There is no legitimate reason to target African-American residents for much harsher enforcement. And it is simply cruel as well as illegal to punish people for being abused or for having a disability.”
Maplewood City Manager Marty Corcoran Tuesday morning said he hasn’t seen the lawsuit yet, so couldn’t comment, and neither has the city attorney.
He said the complaint was filed two weeks ago with the Missouri Human Rights Commission and was rejected, which is standard procedure. That’s when the suit was filed.