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In Norristown, Pensylvania, a disturbing incident took place that has nearly everyone on notice. There is a law in the city, which is catching on around the nation, which states that if you call 911 too many times, your landlord can put you on the street.
Called the nuisance property ordinance, this law says that if you call police three times during a four month period, you can be evicted, no matter what the circumstances. So, if you’ve got an abusive ex-boyfriend or husband who keeps stalking you, that’s your problem, not the police, your landlord, or anyone else.
Lakisha Briggs has been mortified of her ex-boyfriend, who came after her when he was released from jail. The woman didn’t want the man in her home, and asked him to leave. She had to call the police in order to protect her children, but was fearful of asking for help from the cops.
“If I called the police to get him out of my house, I’d get evicted,” Briggs said.
The woman was later stabbed in the neck with a broken ashtray after refusing to reach out for police help. A neighbor called 911. Right after this, her landlord told her and her kids to get out.
A sociologist at Harvard says “these laws threaten citizens’ fundamental right to call on the police for help.”
Authorities have the seemingly misguided belief that these laws actually protect landlords from dealing with tenants who like to break the law. Officials in the city say that they warned the woman to get a protective order, but she did not. They also hold her accountable for the fact that she’d called 911 on ten other occasions, but wasn’t physically injured.
The woman is taking the city to court. It’s hard to root against her.