The Justice Department Civil Rights Division and Los Angeles County today announced that they have reached preliminary agreements to make broad changes to policing in the Antelope Valley and to the enforcement of the Housing Choice Voucher Program (commonly known as Section 8). Together with statements of intent outlining these changes, the division today released a letter detailing its findings that Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s (LASD) Lancaster and Palmdale stations, both of which are located in the Antelope Valley, engaged in a pattern or practice of stops, searches, and seizures and excessive force in violation of the Constitution and federal law. In addition, the Justice Department found a pattern or practice of discrimination against African Americans in its enforcement of the Housing Choice Voucher Program in violation of the Fair Housing Act. The investigation, launched on Aug. 19, 2011, was brought under to the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the federal Fair Housing Act.
Justice Department Settles Race Discrimination Lawsuit Against Owners and Managers of Mobile Home Parks in Alabama and Georgia
The Justice Department announced yesterday that Lawrence Properties Inc., Lawrence at Lakewood LLC, Michael Lawrence, and Williams Bounds have agreed to pay $35,000 to settle a lawsuit involving violations of the Fair Housing Act. The lawsuit alleged that the defendants denied housing to an African American woman and her family because of race. The lawsuit also alleged that the owner and the regional manager of Lawrence Properties communicated to employees a company policy of not renting to African Americans.
Under the consent order, the defendants will pay $25,000 to the family who was denied housing and $10,000 to the United States as a civil penalty. In addition, the order prohibits the defendants from discriminating in the future against prospective tenants based on race, mandates the implementation of a non-discriminatory rental policy, and requires the defendants and their employees to receive training on the Fair Housing Act.
“No family should be denied housing because of their race,” said Eric Halperin, Senior Counsel and Special Counsel for Fair Lending in the Civil Rights Division. “We are committed to enforcing the Fair Housing Act to ensure that everyone has the freedom to choose where they live.”