Maplewood’s troubles with the The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which filed a suit against the city last week, has garnered national attention. The New York Times reported on the action on Tuesday.
A Maplewood woman was ordered to leave her apartment becasue she called the police — for protection from an abusive boyfriend — more times than allowed by Maplewood’s ‘nuisance’ ordinance.
For more than two calls to the police regarding domestic violence from the same address within a 180-day period, a resident can be considered a nuisance, according to the ordinance. Violators can be forced from their homes and banished from the city for six months.
Sandra Park, an ACLU lawyer, told the Times that similar nuisance ordinances in other American cities have disproportionately worked against domestic violence victims. She said some states now have laws that prevent cities from punishing residents for seeking police or emergency assistance.
According to the ACLU, between September 2011 to February 2012, Rosetta Watson called the police several times after physical abuse by her former boyfriend at her Maplewood home. In one incident, he kicked open the front door and punched Watson in the face while she was in bed.
City Manager Marty Corcoran, Chief of Police Steve Kruse and Assistant City Manager Anthony Traxler are all listed as defendants.
The Times reports that Corcoran said in an email to the paper on Tuesday that the city had not yet been served with the lawsuit and he could not comment; also that Kruse and Traxler did not reply to phone messages or emails.
Slate.com covered the story last week — In Cities with “Nuisance Laws,” Victims of Domestic Violence Face Eviction for Calling 911